I am going to write 4 romance novellas and I admit, writing romance may be difficult for me. Why? Well, it certainly isn’t because my husband isn’t romantic, because he is the prince of romance. I think it is because too many people equate romance with love. And while the two go hand in hand, like steak sauce and steak, they are not equal.
Therein lies the problem. People confuse the two. So what is love? In the English language there are many ways we use the word love: I love you, I love tiramisu, I love horror movies, I love the holidays . . . you get the picture. Most of these, like romance, are heavy in the emotional, feel good, category. So what is real love?
The best definition I know is found in the Hebrew word agapao. It means to honor, esteem, cherish, favor, respect, accept, prize, relish, to be devoted to, be loyal to, it is the kind of love rooted in the mind and will that motivates us to actions that benefits others.
And there you have it. True love primarily benefits others. While we are looking for someone to love us we are missing out on true love. Love that has less to do with emotion and everything to do with how we honor, esteem, cherish, favor, respect, accept, prize, relish, are devoted to, and loyal to. And the highest kind of love is when the person we are loving are not behaving in a way that deserves it.
The love I have described is not easy, it doesn’t always feel good, and sometimes it isn’t recognized or appreciated. But, it is that kind of love by which Christ loves us. To love with unconditional love is hard. It takes a dedicated mindset. But when we love with this kind of love it heals and empowers us.
I read this yesterday, a prayer by Francis Frangipane and made it my prayer: Help me, Master, to recognize Your love, not as a divine emotion, but as Your very substance. Help me to see that it was neither Pilate not Satan that put You on the cross; it was love alone to which You succumbed.