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What most people call love isn’t love. Love isn’t something you ‘fall’ into. The Bible makes it clear that godly love is a conscious choice, not an accident.
Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet idolises what true love means for many. Within a four-day period this famous, fictional couple ‘fall in love’ and when faced with opposition, decide they cannot live without each other and take their own lives.
Obviously this story does not, in any way, portray the love described in biblical relationships between men and women. Society has confused love with infatuation. Infatuation is mostly concerned with feeling, and is an emotion directed mainly towards the self.
While there’s nothing wrong with being attracted to someone that attraction must be handled responsibly. We need to take the time to get to know the other person and understand his or her values and character. It is also vitally important to seek God’s guidance and consider input from trusted friends and family members, before allowing yourself to become swept up in a romantic liaison principally governed by mutual attraction.
The apostle Paul, under inspiration from God, wrote a passage in a letter to Christians in the city of Corinth that has become known as the “love chapter.” It provides an explanation of what true, godly love is at its core and applies to all relationships-- not just dating couples or marriage. Among other things, we are told: “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud…Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance” (1 Corinthians 13:4, 7, New Living Translation).
True, godly love is so important that Jesus Christ emphasized it as the defining characteristic of Christians everywhere: “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). Our love and outgoing concern for others should define us in the eyes of those around us, and that love is not to be directed at just one individual or a select few, but the entire world.
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