In my last opportunity to speak with a youth group on relationships I used a definition of love that I picked up from Chip Ingram.
“Love is giving the other person what they need the most when they deserve it the least because God has done that for me.”
I know if you are like me you are recognizing this is an absolutely appropriate but a challenging definition of love. When lived out this is a phenomenal representation of selfless love. Can you imagine how marriages, families, churches, work environments, and communities would be changed if this definition of love became the norm? I don’t have my arms around that definition yet, but I sure do aspire towards it. I may have intentionally been there a few times and hit on it accidentally some more times. I just don’t live there like I would like.
I want to make the choice to be there regularly in my relationships. My wife certainly has done this for me. I say done this for me, because I absolutely do recognize it as a choice. You don’t live out this definition of love without making a conscience effort. Maybe I should say I don’t live it out without making a choice.
Then by nature I set myself up to need to receive this kind of love. I am grateful my wife has made the choice to love me when I least deserve it. What a great honor and privilege to receive her love in this way. I know I often put my children in a similar place where they must give what I don’t deserve.
I don’t know about you, but I know why the Apostle Paul encourages dads not to exasperate or provoke their children to anger. (Ephesians 6:4) If most dads are like me it comes pretty natural. I have some innate skill in this area. Often when I have exasperated them most they have chosen to love me at my worst. I don’t deserve it. I am grateful this reckoning of undeserved love.
Of course, the greatest example of this love is within the definition. Our loving Father sent His only son to die for us. We did not deserve it. We did not earn it. Yet, by His great grace we are happy recipients. I am grateful he gave me what I needed the most when I did not even know I needed it and definitely did not deserve it.
When looking at Chip’s definition of love, how is your love life?
Do you share my thoughts that this definition of love is a choice? What makes you believe your answer?