*I wrote this post for another blog, but in light of Valentine's Day this weekend, I felt that I should post it here,too. Hope it blesses you.😊
It surprised me when I finally realised that the world was looking for something that I’ve already found and have actually always had access to – true love.
And what is true love? You might ask.
Like me, you have probably heard so many definitions of true love that it feels like your head can no longer contain them all! You have tried to make sense of them, only for them to leave you even more confused than you were before. But the truth of the matter is that we have been looking for the truth in all the wrong places. The world doesn’t know what true love is; how can it know something that it has never experienced?
The definition of the word ‘love’ has been replaced with so many other things – some of them being lust, sex and material comforts – but none of them come even close to what it really is... Over the past few months I have tried to figure out the truth for myself, and I have discovered that the world has tried to complicate something that is actually quite simple.
From what God has shown me through my Christian walk, I can say that true love is best described through the Parable of the Prodigal Son. It’s a story I have read many times before but it seems like I never really understood it...up until now...
As a young girl I always tried my best to obey my parents and to do what was right. I didn’t even realize it then, but for years I have tried to earn my parents’ love through good grades in school and commendable behaviour both at school and at home; and I always felt like I had achieved this whenever I passed an exam or took care of the responsibilities assigned to me. It took me being in a position where there were neither any exams to pass nor responsibilities to take care of for me to really learn what true love is.
It was only then that I discovered that I am loved and have always been loved for who I am, and not for what I do. And that’s where the story of true love begins...
The Prodigal Son’s story also begins when he chose to go against his father and try out life his own way. Jesus goes on to narrate how he squandered all that he had left home with and eventually ended up being forced to work in order to survive. Things got so bad that his hunger tempted him to eat the food that the pigs on the farm he was working on were eating. The Bible says that he was so ashamed of himself that he figured it was best to go back to his father – not as a son but – as a servant. But what struck me most is that he was willing to go back to his father whom he had wronged. And he even knew he’d be better off as a servant in his father’s home than he was there in the pig sty! What’s more, even though there was famine where he was, he was confident that the servants at his father’s house had plenty of food! This, to me, says something important about his father’s character; not only did He treat his servants well, but He had probably treated him well, too. Otherwise he would’ve probably never thought of going back to Him, but would’ve decided to go somewhere else instead – or to stay where he was despite the suffering.
*I think it’s also important to note that despite the fact that he was the one who had decided to leave his Father’s house, he later acknowledged that it had probably been a bad idea seeing as life had been so much better there than it was here in the pig sty.
So off the son went, back to his father’s house. And true to His character, his Father welcomed him back with open arms, not even once mentioning all the wrong he had done to him or all the hurt that he had caused him, but choosing instead to love him, forgive him and focus on the fact that he had come back home.
True love is the choice to love someone for who they really are, not for what they do – or don’t do. It’s the choice God made when He sent His son, Jesus, to die for us despite all the things we had done to Him and failed to do. True love says, ‘I’ve seen the ugly parts of you, and I’m staying’, and it’s exactly what God says to us every day.
The Parable says that the Father was looking out for his son. He probably had a good idea of what he’d been up to, but the fact that he was still longing for his return meant that having his son back was more important to Him than any amount of sin that he had committed out there. Nobody knows or will ever know us as well as God does, and yet He chose long time ago to forgive us for all our sins and to love us unconditionally. That, to me, is true love.
He sent His son to die for us, knowing full well that we might never choose to reciprocate that kind of love. That, to me, is true love.
No amount of money, sex, or any material things could even compare to genuine true love. And once you have had a taste of it, just like the Prodigal Son, you will always find your way back home to the Father no matter how far away you stray. Nothing else will taste as good to you. Nothing.