I have expressed my opinion on this subject before—that sometimes love is a verb—and it hasn’t changed. When I was a teenager, I was taught what was, perhaps, an unusual philosophy. I learned it at church, and to me, it has always made a lot of sense.
We all know that emotions are unpredictable and sometimes uncontrollable. That feeling of love is just that—an emotion stimulated and supported by physiological chemicals and responses. But I was exposed at an impressionable age to the idea that real love is more than mushy feelings. Real, true love doesn’t fade or fluctuate with circumstances. Real love is steady and dependable.
In John 13:34, when Jesus commanded us to love one another, he didn’t say, “feel love for one another,” or “try to love one another.” He didn’t say, “Love the ones your social group approves.” What he actually said (according to John) translates more like, “do love for one another.” He indicated that it was a command that could be followed; a choice that could be made.
I’m not talking about being in love. I’m talking about choosing to love someone, treating them as if you love them, and then choosing to stop treating them that way. Love isn’t the feelings. It’s the actions, and those are deliberate. If you love someone—really love them—you don’t let the opinions and actions of others decide how you treat them. You don’t depend on approval or a vote from your family or friends. If you love someone, you love them on purpose and because you want to.
I learned that if you treat someone with care and respect, and do loving things for them, you WILL love them, and the feelings will develop. If you ignore them and treat them as if you don’t love them, even the strongest feelings WILL fade.
So choosing to stop doing the things that show love is also deliberate. Letting someone talk you out of doing them is a choice. And, either way, it’s a choice you must be prepared to stand by.
I have chosen to love. I have not called for a vote. And I have not chosen to stop.