Love Is As Love Does

by Dr. Teresa Hairston

One of the great quotes from that wonderful social prophet, Forrest…Forrest Gump is, “Love is as love does.” Another potent quotable comes from an enduring song of the mid-60s popular culture: “What The World Needs Now Is Love.” The song confirmed a lot about the perception of love in today\’s society. The lyrics—“What the world needs now is love, sweet love, it\’s the only thing that there\’s just too little of”—notably, described love as vital—something the world “needs.” Love was also described as pleasant to the taste—“sweet”; additionally, it was said to be of insufficient supply—“it\’s the only thing that there\’s just too little of.”

After teaching a powerful lesson about perfect unity, joy and love, Jesus said to his disciples:
“I\’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one an- other the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I\’m no lon- ger calling you servants because servants don\’t understand what their master is thinking and plan- ning. No, I\’ve named you friends because I\’ve let you in on every- thing I\’ve heard from the Father. (John 15:11-15, The Message Bible)
You have undoubtedly been in “love” before. Maybe it was a relationship with a parent, a sibling, a son or daughter, a spouse or even a love inter- est. Maybe it ended badly. Perhaps there was a separation caused by death, divorce or a decision to leave home. Our percep- tions of what love is and does often are “colored” by our experiences. Too many of us make the mistake of measuring and defining love by what we have seen, tasted and felt. Negative perceptions can become limiting realities.

Most of our love experiences have been shallow; some may have been inap- propriate. You might have experienced in- fatuation (passion without commitment), or lust (desire for sexual pleasure outside the commitment of marriage). Perhaps
you originally thought you\’d found true love but later found out that it wasn\’t. This season, let\’s change our out- look, expectation and demonstration of love. Let\’s reject imperfect love and set our sights higher. Jesus said, “Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends.”

There are several types of love. In 1973, a man named John Lee explored love in a book he wrote (Colours of Love: An Exploration of the Ways of Loving). He identified/defined six types of love:

“EROS – a passionate physical and emotional love based on aesthetic enjoyment; stereotype of romantic love,
LUDUS – a love that is played as a game or sport; conquest,
STORGE – an affectionate love that slowly develops from friendship, based on similarity (kindred to Philia),
PRAGMA – love that is driven by the head, not the heart; undemonstrative,
MANIA – highly volatile love; obsession; fueled by low self-esteem,
AGAPE – selfless altruistic love; spiritual; [parental] love.”

The noted Christian author, C. S. Lewis, stated that agape is “the highest level of love known to humanity—it is a selfless love, a love that is passionately committed to the well-being of another.”

When you\’re committed to the “well-being” of another, there are things you do and things you don\’t do. Apostle Paul defined how this agape love behaves in 1 Cor. 13: 4-7:

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hope- ful, and endures through every circumstance.” (NLT)

If you\’ve been in a “love” relation- ship that includes conquest, selfishness and obsession, rather than patience,
kindness, encouragement, sacrifice, support and commitment, it\’s time for a healthy choice and a healthy change. What the world needs, what you and I need, and what God ordained and ex- emplified is true love. Don\’t allow your- self to believe that someone loves you “but” he or she is just trying to “work through” his or her issues (or some oth- er sorry excuse). Actions speak louder than words! Love is a verb!

Make up your mind to “love” right and to be loved “right.” Start today and start with God! Accept His love; learn to love as He loves and don\’t allow yourself to “settle” for less. God will love you right— even if a parent, child, sibling or ‘lover\’ didn\’t or doesn\’t. Then move forward.

Love your children. Maybe you didn\’t know how to show them love before, but start now. Tell them that you\’re ready to start again and get it right—show them patience, kindness, encouragement, re- spect and care. Love means dealing with them—and chastening them (Heb. 12:6, Rev. 3:19)—even when it\’s challenging.

Training, equipping and preparing your children emotionally, spiritually and financially is essential! Invest now and you won\’t spend time regretting later.

Love your friends. Develop healthy agape friendships with other ma- ture Christians. Encourage each other through the word of God. There\’s no better blessing than a brother or sister (natural or spiritual) who will take time to pray with and for you.
Love your spouse. Lift up your spouse or potential spouse to God and realign your relationship with the soundness of Biblical truth. (Love “rejoices whenever the truth wins out.”) Maybe your marriage or relationship has been a competition or a struggle because of finances or other pres- sures, or perhaps you haven\’t been deal- ing in truth according to God\’s word. It\’s time to find/create/commit to the love that comes from honest communication; forgiveness; humility and submission.

Remember, “Love is as love does.” And true love “never gives up, never los- es faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” Now, as Forrest would say, “that\’s all I have to say about that!”

God Bless You!