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How often do people really love each other when they do? Part 1


Part 1: How often do people really love each other when they say they do?—Rainbow Girl, 14, ND

Shayna Answers:

Dear Rainbow Girl,

I guess it depends on who is making the declaration of love, and in what context they’re declaring it.
In a previous column we’ve talked about the different types of love. There’s phileo love (between friends), sturgos love (between parents and children), agape love (between God and humans), and eros love (between husbands and wives).
Regardless of which type of love a person is feeling, saying it should merely be an outward expression of something they’re already showing in their actions. After all, we know that our parents love us, even when they don’t say it, because they continue feeding us, clothing us, and making sacrifices for our benefit. We also know that our friends love us when they listen to us whine on bad days and call us just to say hi.
Telling a person that you love them in a romantic relationship carries a much greater significance. That’s  because being in love can lead to more serious emotional, spiritual, and physical commitments. Some people say they love someone—whether or not they mean it—to justify a lot of inappropriate or unhealthy behaviors.
First Corinthians 13 explains in detail what love is all about. It says that love is about being patient, being kind, and keeping no record of wrongs—and those are just a few actions associated with love. A distinct difference exists between love and lust.
Lust is an imitation of love. In comparison to love, lust is fleeting, selfish, and deceptive. It’s based almost entirely on physical desires, and it excludes the most essential parts of love, which are uplifting spiritual and emotional unity with God.
If a person tells you that they love you in order to pressure you into compromising your physical boundaries, your relationship with your family, or your educational pursuits, they’re not really in love with you. First Corinthians 13 also says that love is “not self-seeking” and “does not delight in evil.”
Second John 6 says: “This is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands.” Any request made in conjunction with true love will never require you to compromise your relationship with God or His commandments.
A good way to judge whether or not a person means what they say is to gauge their actions. If they say they love you, but they’re pressuring you to compromise God’s standards, they don’t love you. Similarly, if a person is using the word love without demonstrating the characteristics in
1 Corinthians 13, they don’t love you. Remember that no matter what a person says to you, love is an action, not a feeling.
God anticipated that some people would eventually use the word love to distract and hurt us. This is why He told us in Proverbs 4:23: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”
Next week we’ll continue answering your question, “How are emotions tied into sex?”

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