Love is patient, unconditional and selfless

Published 12:33 am Sunday, August 12, 2012

There have been a lot of misconstrued ideas about the definition of love in the news lately.

Last month, Dan Cathy — the President of Chick-fil-a, said in an interview on the Ken Coleman Show: “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say ‘we know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage’ and I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to redefine what marriage is about.”

The media took his words and labeled them “hate speech.” By simply stating what he believed in, Mr. Cathy has been labeled a bigot, a hate monger and intolerant.

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Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee came to Cathy’s defense saying his comments had become a freedom of speech issue. He encouraged people to show their support by participating in a “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” on Aug. 1 and tens of thousands of people showed up and set a record for the most people served at Chick-fil-A.

In response, GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) encouraged same-sex couples to show up at Chick-fil-A restaurants nationwide on Aug. 3 for a “National Same-Sex Kiss Day.”

If you think this debate is over, you’d better think again!

President Obama has already made it clear where he stands: In May, he said in an interview with ABC News, “At a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me, personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”

How did we get to this point?

It’s because we have redefined what love is. Instead of redefining marriage I believe we need to understand the definition of what true love is. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 tells us that love is first and foremost patient and kind.

In other words, it is willing to wait for the right time to express itself in the right way. If everyone lived and loved this way the world would not be in the mess it’s in today.

Why? Because the love that many say they have is not the patient kind — it’s the lustful kind!

Lust is the opposite of love. If love is patient then lust is impatient — always demanding its own way. Looking again at 1 Corinthians 13:4-8–lust is unkind, gets jealous, and likes to boast and brag.

Lust is rude, selfish, is easily angered and keeps a record of wrongs. Lust leads to sin and doesn’t rejoice with the truth. It leaves you unprotected and can’t be trusted; it crushes hopes, and doesn’t last. Lust always fails.

This is why all sex outside of marriage, both heterosexual and homosexual, is sin because it is based on lust and not love!

1 John 4:8 says: “He that loves not knows not God; for God is love.” The Greek word for love in this verse is agape — it is the highest level of love because it is a selfless, unconditional love. This is the kind of love we should be striving for.

So stop looking for love in all the wrong places. Find God’s love for you and then you’ll know what true love is … patient, selfless, and unconditional.

Then you can express it the right way!

Rev. Doug Johnson is the senior pastor at Bethel Temple Assembly of God in Huntington, W.Va.