True Love is this…

*sigh* Oh Valentine’s Day…so much pressure and the inflation of prices…

Don’t misunderstand me, I actually like Valentine’s Day per say. I am all for a fantastic dinner out. I love receiving flowers because they make my house feel happy–though despite being the daughter of a farmer, I have a black thumb and regularly kill plants. I love mushy cards and sentimental thoughts.

What I don’t like is a misrepresentation on love.

There are a ton of articles floating around discussing the impending doom that is the Fifty Shades of Grey movie, set to release tomorrow on Valentine’s Day. There is even a petition to boycott the movie (which you can sign here if you fancy.) There are opinions from every range of group that address numerous concerns surrounding the basis of this movie: abusive and domineering relationship being toted as love.

This article did a great job bringing to light the root of the matter (and calling out where that faintly familiar plot line came from. I’ll give you a hint: it was fan fiction for a teen vampire “love” story.)

I did not read Fifty Shades of Grey.

I don’t have any desire to read them and even less desire to see the movie based on them.

Honestly, even when I watched the trailer (because I was ignorant to the appeal and plot line), it made me feel extremely uncomfortable.

I have, however, experienced what it’s like to deal with the emotional toil of an abusive relationship. I know what it’s like to feel like you love someone, convince yourself that they love you, and make excuses for them. It’s a messed-up mind game where no one comes out as a winner.

It’s debilitating and a lie.

Love does not force itself on others. It’s not controlling. In fact, it’s the exact opposite:

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. (1 John 3:16-18 NIV)

Love is sacrificial. It is putting someone else before yourself. It is serving and considerate.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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 NIV)

Love is powerful, but true love can never be held over someone’s head. You can’t lose love, because “love never fails” (1 Cor. 13:8). Where all other things will pass away, love will not. Correction: true love will not.

Valentine’s day may be a ruse by Hallmark and other card companies to make a pretty penny, but the focus is love. Whether single or not, you can experience true love. Whether through a spouse, your children, your parents, or a best friend–true love is not about a physical relationship. True love is so much more.

So I encourage you to look beyond what some would like to promote as romance and love. I encourage you to refocus on what love was created to be. It is a precious gift that God has given to us, shown through the life-death-and resurrection of His Son. It is given to us to share with the world, not just through sex (though that is a wonderful part of marriage and has it’s own place in the sphere of love), but through relationships with others, through serving others, through encouraging others.

Wishing you all a true love-filled Valentine’s Day.