What is LOVE?

What is love? A question many search the answer to, but circumstances can sometimes make it difficult, or at the very least, foggy to define. Yet, there is an entire day dedicated to love. I don't know that many can define it objectively. We all seem to have a version of love we can articulate, and while some of our definitions may touch on an objective characteristic of love, we find ourselves hard pressed to find any two people that can tell us what love is.

The world is out there selling that "love is love". Haddaway has been asking what love is since 1992 and following up the question with "don't hurt me, don't hurt me, no more". Well, "love is love" is about as meaningful as responding to someone asking, "what is cancer?", by saying, "cancer is cancer". Haddaway at least had an idea that love shouldn't hurt, but is that true? Is love nothing but good feelings? In a question that ignited C.S. Lewis' quest to the feet of Jesus, he asked himself, referring to determining between good and evil, "how did I know what evil was without good? How could I know what a crooked line looked like unless I knew what a straight line looked like?" In the same sense there is a dichotomy that exists with love that teaches us the very same principle Jesus taught that confuses so many of us when He commanded us to, "love your enemies and pray for them." (Luke 23:34) How can I? In the worst circumstance, how can I love a person who killed or attempted to kill my family?

These are some of the questions we have, yet we still haven't answered, "what is love?" We have a good idea of what love is not, but I wonder if we could use that to determine what love is. Love is not unkind. Love is not selfish. Love is not unforgiving. Love is not hateful. Love is not short tempered. And we could go on and on. Love would be the opposite of what it is not, at least in theory, but how can we all come to the same objective understanding of love?
I would argue we start with Jesus. He already teaches us something counter cultural; LOVE YOUR ENEMIES AND PRAY FOR THEM. I think it is safe to say that since the beginning of time, and in our humanity, hating your enemy is a given. So how can we begin to try to even reconcile loving an enemy? By seeing them the way Christ saw his own enemies. While hanging on the cross, dying, as a consequence of false accusations, and more importantly, to fulfill a promise and prophecy, Jesus said, "forgive them, for they know not what they do." The entire passage reads, " And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”[b] And they cast lots to divide his garments." So, as they were mocking him and gambling for his garments, he prayed for them. Jesus would have been justified in destroying them in that moment, yet he chose to pray for them. What witness did that leave those Roman guards with? Well, we know that at least one of them recognized Christ as God, along with everyone that was with him; " When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” "(Matthew 27:54)
We've also heard God is love, and that is demonstrably true;  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Jesus is love incarnate. Jesus is the source of love, therefore anything that disagrees with what Jesus taught and affirmed IS NOT love.
I believe Paul does a fine job of objectively describing love, with Christ as the standard for it. " If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[b] 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love."
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