News from the Tennessee Valley Religion

Rev. Rex Jarman

Real love is all about your actions

The New World Dictionary defines love as a deep and tender feeling of attachment, of devotion to a person or persons. Most people have different definitions for the meaning of love.

The greatest definition I’ve come across can be found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7:

“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

There are different degrees of love, and this verse offers a very good, insightful definition.

Many people in the world are confused about the true meaning of love. Too often sex and love are confused with each other. When love and sex find themselves mixed in the same definition, what we have is actually the word lust. The meaning of love is not sex.

The real meaning of love is to look at a person and think, "How can I help that person?" Lust is when we look at a person and think, "How can I satisfy myself?" There is a big difference. If we fall into a trap of thinking of love in terms of sex, then we badly need to change our way of thinking. Otherwise, we will never experience the fulfillment of developing a strong and lasting relationship.

The world's interpretation often refers to love as an emotion, which is not true. I believe in my heart that real love can have an effect on emotions or create or cause emotion, but in reality, love is not an emotion itself.

Love can be found in someone's actions rather than in what someone feels or says. The Apostle Paul helped me understand love in his First Corinthians letter, explaining that it is something you do. It is that goodwill we show toward others.

Our greatest example can be found in Jesus as he said, "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you." No greater love will ever be known by mankind than the love for which Jesus laid down his own life, dying on the cross for every one of us. Looking toward the cross spells what love truly is.

The world will tell us that love is uncontrollable. But we don't just fall in love like falling into a ditch. We don't fall in love any more than we fall out of love.

Love is a choice

Love is a choice we make. We choose to love or not to love. Some of us will say that the feeling is not there in a relationship. Loving someone when you don't feel like it is a greater expression of love than loving someone when we do feel like it.

Loving despite our lack of feelings is called "loving by faith." One important lesson to remember is that it is easier to act our way into a feeling than to feel our way into an action. If we act in a loving way, eventually the feeling of love will find its way back home.

The Rev. Rex Jarman of Decatur, pastor of Grant's Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in Carbon Hill, is one of several local ministers writing religion columns for The Daily. For more information, call Melanie Smith at 340-2468.

Rev. Rex Jarman Rev. Rex Jarman

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