So I went on a rant about this the other day (not uncommon), but it really stuck with me. I was thinking about how we tend to put the word "but" after we say love. "I love him, but ___" or "I WOULD love her, but ___?" I don't know when this became our mindset, but it really hit close to home with me. I catch myself doing this all the time, but this is not the right way of thinking about love. Love is not conditional, nor does it have limits or expectations.
The Merriam-Webster describes love as "a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person." I believe the key word here is constant. Love has no end; it can't just stop.
I went further and looked at the definition of constant, which is "a situation or state of affairs that does not change." Some synonyms of the word are "continual," "persistent," and "sustained." These are all words that last.
Then, I began thinking about that. How our definition of love is not constant, continual, persistent, or sustained. Our love is unsteady, conditional, and we base its volume on how we're feeling in the moment. When we love, we put expectations, standards, and ideals on the people we choose to share our love with. If someone does something to hurt us or someone we care for, we decide that they're not deserving of our love and exclude them for our lives.
This really broke my heart, because I've done this before, but now more than ever I wish I could take it back and start all over again. Because now I know, that is not how Jesus loves. He saw a dying, broken, sick world and decided that even though we were never good enough for His love, He'd love us anyways. And if we accepted His love, why is it so hard for us to share it?
Well, it is and it's not. It's incredibly challenging to love like Jesus did, but if we really put our minds to it, it's not. We'll begin to see people as Jesus did and be able to love as He did. And that's the best thing we could ever have the privilege of knowing.
So, in short, next time we catch ourselves putting "buts" on our love and talking about someone "in love," let's stop ourselves, remember that Jesus loved all of us so much that He died for us despite our quirks, habits, sins, or flaws, and that no matter what, love is love. And love will always win.