True Love Is Selfless
“Me first!!” Who hasn’t heard a toddler say that? And every year on Black Friday, millions of adults prove that this is not merely a toddler problem. From birth, we fight to be first. Selflessness is a learned behavior. And selflessness is at the root of what real love is all about – God’s kind of love.
“Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way.” So wrote Paul in his definition of what true love is in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. When you’re looking for love in this world, look for those who are selfless, who sacrifice their right to be right and to be first. Sometimes the essence of love is boiled down to this one big decision – setting self aside for others.
Paul used several phrases to expand on love’s selfless qualities. Real love isn’t jealous. That is, it doesn’t demand to be the sole object of one’s attention and devotion but instead shares the limelight. Love isn’t boastful and doesn’t concern itself with making sure everyone knows of its greatness. Real love isn’t proud and doesn’t demand praise from others. Real love isn’t rude and is willing to be inconvenienced to defer to others. And real love doesn’t demand its own way but makes room for the opinions and viewpoints of others.
If I’m jealous, or boastful, or proud, or rude, or if I’m demanding my own way, I’m not being loving. Jesus demonstrated these qualities perfectly. While as God, Jesus has a right to be jealous of our affection and as King He has a right to demand to be the center of attention, Jesus lived out an alternative value. He continually chose to act in unselfish ways. He touched the untouchable, hung out with the hurting, spent time with people trapped in sin, and gave Himself repeatedly to other people. And then He epitomized selfless love by laying down His life, enduring the pain and humiliation of the cross, so that He could pay the price of our selfishness and die for our sins.
True love is selfless, and it’s exemplified by Jesus. He invites us to receive and enjoy His love, and calls us to emulate it by serving and sharing the good news with the rest of the world!