The Meaning of “True Love”

Mark W. Merrill is the president of Family First (  He’s also been married to his wife Susan, iMOM’s program director, for almost 20 years.  They have five children – two of whom are adopted.  Mark says that he and Susan are trying to teach their kids that real love is more than a feeling; it’s a decision and an action to rise to a higher level of unselfishness.

Here’s what Mark wrote about the meaning of “true love.”

True love is only possible when another person is involved.  When I say, “I love my car.”  “I love those French fries.” “I love to sing.” “I love that dress.” I’m really not talking about true love…I’m really talking about something that is appealing and pleasing to me…to one of my five senses…sight, hearing, taste, touch, smell.  Now, check me on this, but I don’t recall anywhere in scripture where God tells us that it is good to love an inanimate object.  God designed each of us to love people.

What is love? The Bible says “God is love… (1John 4:16).  I’ve searched high and low for much of my life, and that’s the best definition I’ve found.  And if God is love, how do we translate that into loving other people? What does it mean to love your husband or wife, to love your children, to love a friend, to love an enemy?  Well, first of all, we have to understand that the word love is an action verb…it is something you do toward another person.  Love is not just a feeling; it is a decision…a choice.  It’s an act of the will to be patient, kind, humble, hopeful, giving, faithful and trusting.  Love is all about giving …giving selflessly and sacrificially to another person…just like Christ.  Jesus says, give, don’t get; be last, not first; be a servant, not a master.

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