In an age where humankind has explored the reaches of space and navigated the depths of the seas, it’s surprising to think we’re still struggling to understand what love is. Our search for its meaning has led to the murky gray waters of confusion, and the generations that follow are left to drown in the flood of misperceptions we’ve left behind. When we pursue love through self-gratification, we’re left empty and abused—because to live according to a selfish definition of love inevitably leads to suffering.
There’s a gaping hole in our hearts, crying out for love and fulfillment. Too often, we search for this love via means incapable of satisfying our deepest and truest needs. Current trends suggest intimacy can be found in sadistic relationships based on bondage, dominance, and slavery. The lie persists that there can be a fairytale ending to such relationships, when headlines and statistics so clearly prove otherwise. Too often, the actual result is suffering and death.
It’s grievous to consider the outcome of our distorted perceptions of love. Our own children are sold into slavery in countless numbers while we turn a blind eye, so consumed in our pursuit of self-gratification. Our high courts are inundated with cases of those fighting to do as they please while our own youth are trapped in bondage to modern slavery with no one to plead their cause. Have we become so desensitized that we care nothing for the innocent of our world while we go on chasing desperately after our own selfish desires?
True love involves self-sacrifice, not self-gratification. It’s when we lay down our lives for the love of another that we find life that is truly life, and love that is truly love. After all these years of fruitless searching, the most complete definition of love is found in ancient words: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Cor 13:4-8)
The many shades of love include patience, kindness, faithfulness, goodness, gentleness, and sacrifice. Love consists of infinite shades of selfless virtue, and gray is not one of them. We don’t need more gray in our lives. We need more love. True love will never enslave us. It will set us free.
“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)