One of my favorite verses about love is on today’s first reading:
There is no fear in love. Perfect love drives out fear, for fear has to do with punishment; those who fear do not know perfect love. (1 John 4:18)
Sometimes, when I think of love (especially the romantic one) objectively (which is how I think of it, more often than not, heh), it’s very easy to see it all in a straight line — I’d do this, I’d do that, I won’t do that he did and I will never do what she it. You know, like linear motion. But when I hear and read stories from other people about love, I realize yet again that it’s not always black and white. If anything, it’s full of gray areas. Crossroads. Both roads seem the right thing to do, but which is really the most loving thing?
You know how people often wonder how you’d know if you love another person? Well, I think that verse up there is really the answer. I remember back in college, when we would have these kinds of discussion, we’d often bring up what St. Paul said to the Corinthians:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
We’d often say that when you can replace all instances of “love” there with your name (unless of course, your name is Love), that’s, well, love. But that verse only describes what love is and love makes us do, which I know once a person loves someone, they’re really willing to do all these, no matter how difficult it is. But how about when you’re not sure if you love the person already?
I think I may be going in circles there but hear me out a bit. How would you know if it is love? Maybe when you don’t feel any fear, just as what the verse states. Maybe it’s when you think of the future with that person and although it’s very uncertain, you feel secure, knowing that you’ll have someone. When you think about jumping and making a risk, you feel afraid but you still do it anyway, knowing everything will be all right in the end. Maybe it’s when you’re secure with yourself and in the person, knowing that no matter what happens, no matter how you look, no matter how chaotic everything else around is, even if the world is ending, the person will still be there, loving you.
It’s a tall order. And more often than not, people fail. But that’s why we just have to keep on trying, right?
Bringing it closer to home and in a non-romantic way, perfect love is there when:
- a mother calls to console their scared daughter about her upcoming thesis defense, and tell her that it will be okay no matter what the outcome is.
- a father tells his tired and worn out sophomore teen that they will finish the project on time, even if he is very tired himself.
- a brother takes the time to cook for his sick sister and make her drink her medicines even if she feels like she’s getting worse.
- a brother goes out of his way to meet his sister at a mall and bring her laptop to the service center to have the adapter fixed, and then drop his sister off to the dorm on commute just to make sure she gets back safe.
- friends listen to another friend who finally takes a step away from a destructive habit and promises no judgment.
Perfect love drives out fear. And God is love. Ergo, God drives out fear. :) Comforting, isn’t it?
Wherever you are, whatever you are going through right now, may you find peace in God’s love. :)