The most effective way to discern if you are able to understand and live out biblical love is to be put in a relational context in which you are disappointed by someone. Motive, thoughts, words, and practice are the components of love and hate. Relational challenges are the stimuli that will reveal which one controls your heart.
Every young couple gets married because they are in love. About half of these couples become divorced because they are no longer in love. Rarely will anyone challenge the couple before marriage regarding their understanding and practice of love.
We politely assume the young couple knows what they are talking about when they say they are in love. I think if you were to step back from that assumption for a moment and run it through a biblical filter, you may have second thoughts regarding their assessment of love.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? – Jeremiah 17:9 (ESV)
We can say we love someone, but it is only in the crucible of a trial when our true understanding and practice of love will be revealed. The young couple in love is no different from the rest of us.
I loved my wife before she was my wife. After she became my wife, I began to love her less, even to the point of not loving her anymore. If you ask me, I could spin the conversation by saying something like, “I loved her, but I did not like her,” but that would be intellectual dishonesty–to put it mildly.
Let us not split hairs. Call it what you will. Love. Like. The point is, none of us will know the kind of love we have for another person until something comes between the two of us. This applies to any relationship.
When my marriage got tough, my definition of love was challenged to the point where I decided I did not love my wife anymore. I see this all the time in counseling.
People were in love. Then they fall out of love. They harbor a general dislike for the other person. They either endure to the end or get a divorce. They become former friends who are no longer friends.
And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” -