I’ve often been asked, “How do you know it’s true love?” People want to know if what they’re feeling for someone is real.
Because of many Disney films and love-themed movies, people often connect true love with romantic feelings another person brings to them. Obviously, true love needs to be more than that.
True Love is measured by the one standard that Jesus gives: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:12). I must love the same way He loved me. That’s a pretty high standard.
Here are some characteristics of T.R.U.E. love based on His standards. This takes a lot of humility.
1. (T) Total Sacrifice (not based on Comfort)
Jesus was physically beaten up from head to toe. Worse, he was mocked by people and abandoned by His closest friends. He gave up the comforts of heaven, His rights, and His life. True love was demonstrated through his total sacrifice.
Similarly, I must go beyond my comfort zone. It may mean willing to give up my time, effort, my ego, or my resources for the sake of the other. I should be willing to change my plans for someone else’s benefit.
2. (R) Radical (not based on Human Standard)
Jesus said to “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:43-44) That’s pretty radical. I’d rather avoid those who’ve hurt me. At most, I’ll be civil with them.
True love means showing kindness and grace to people who have caused me pain. It’s taking initiative to forgive, bless them, and pray for God to work wonderfully in their lives.
3. (U) Unconditional (not based on Past, Present, or Future Behavior)
Jesus didn’t wait for me to change before He showed His love for me. He accepted me for who I am. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
I don’t wait for people to change before I start loving them.
I live in an imperfect world, with imperfect people like me. So for sure, I will disappoint people, and people will disappoint me. That shouldn’t stop me from loving people right now.
4. (E) Enduring (not based on a Time Limit)
The bible described Jesus’ true love: “…He loved them to the end.” (John 13:1). It wasn’t for moment, or for a year, or for a decade. It was for the rest of eternity.
It’s easy to show love to someone for a season. But true love is seen when the relationship goes through the ups and downs of life, and yet still remains until the end.
I can only love this way IF I myself have experienced the love of Jesus. He has forgiven me, accepted me and made me worthy to receive His love.
The more I reflect on the love of Jesus for me, the more I’m encouraged to display the same kind of love for others.
If I’m showing these characteristics more consistently, then it might be true love. And this isn’t just about romantic relationships. I can show true love to my spouse, children, friends, neighbors, co-workers and church mates.
In spite of being a natural introvert, I initiate friendships, do random acts of kindness, send an encouraging note via text, and forgive people that caused me pain. The world is searching for true love.
I’ve got a long way to go. What am I waiting for?
Posted on: March 20, 2017
What aspect of T.R.U.E. love do you need to demonstrate more in your own life?
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