May

4

The Definition of Love

By Reg Scheepers

The Definition of LoveThis past Sunday night at church we had a guest speaker called Sy Rogers. He’s widely described as one of the best communicators in the world.

This post is just some random, largely unstructured thoughts about the new distinctions I made from listening to him and how I tie that in to what I already know about love.

Right from the start, let me give you the definition of what love is and is not: Love is not what you see in movies and popular culture. Popular culture has not the first clue about love.

According to Sy Rogers, love at it’s core is to value someone. I love this definition for it’s simplicity. Using this definition, it’s easy to spot love.

This has truly been a life changing distinction for me. Whenever I hear or read the word “love”, I now always replace it with the word value, and then I know how to act on the information.

It’s hard to know how to act when I say “You must love this person.” But it’s easy when I say, “you must value this person.”

Doing this has changed the way I respond to people, it’s changed the way I look at people. It has, in fact revolutionised my life. It has even changed the way I read the Bible.

For example, the core verse of the Bible is this: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”

After redefining love, I now read that verse this way: “God values people so much, that He gave His one and only Son to pay the penalty for your and my short comings, and in so doing enabling us to find our value and acceptance in Him.”

Acceptance

“If you value (love) someone there will be evidence in the decisions you make, and in the actions you take”

In my life, I’ve been quite terrible with the ladies. I am the furtherest thing from a ladies-man you have ever seen in your life.

Whenever I’ve looked at a woman and she looks away, I’ve experienced that as rejection, and as a result did not attempt a conversation with her. And it has shaped my perception of women and the way I relate to them.

You see in my own fairytale world, you’re supposed to make eye contact, smile, start a conversation and live happily ever after.

Having grown tired of always being on the receiving end of rejection I started to purposefully avoid making eye contact with women because it was my way of rejecting them for a change.

Well, the first piece of evidence that proves whether or not you value someone is acceptance. If you value someone you will accept them, warts and all.

Since I’ve adopted this definition of love, I’ve made a conscious effort to be open in my gaze, i.e. to make eye contact with people (young and old, male or female) and smile if appropriate.

Smiling, I’ve come to realise, is a way of communicating acceptance to someone… someone who is probably just as afraid of rejection as what I am. It’s mega powerful.

This has dramatically changed the way people respond to me.

Since listening to Sy Rogers’ message it has inspired me to value people more and more.

The 5 Love Languages

Gary Chapman wrote a book called The 5 Love Languages. It’s a book I highly recommend. It’s about the five primary ways in which we all differ in how we experience whether someone values us.

We all have a primary love language where, if someone does this, we feel deeply valued by them. Knowing what yours is, and what your partner’s is will make a big difference in your understanding of one another.

The five things that make us feel valued are:

  1. If someone spends quality time with us
  2. If we hear words of affirmation from them
  3. If we receive a gift from them
  4. If they do things for us
  5. If they physically touch us

Insecurity

Insecurity, according to Sy Rogers is just a fancy word for FEAR. It means, “I doubt my value.”

What you and I need to realise is that our value is God-assigned. It cannot change. We cannot change it by the way we act. I don’t care if someone kills and rapes for a living, their value is constant. Their behavior is only a symptom of their perception of their and other people’s value.

I don’t care what people have said about you or what has happened to you. Your value does not change.

“No one can give you more or less value; they can only change your perception of it.”

Whenever you see someone or meet someone, inquire inside yourself about their value. “I wonder what are his/her fears, their vulnerabilities. I wonder what makes them tick. I wonder what makes them special.”

Doing this has totally revolutionised my life and my relationships.

If you learn to recognise and appreciate the God-given value of people, you will wield incredible power… not to manipulate them, but to influence their lives for the better.

People will always get hurt and experience rejection in life. It’s a byproduct of the world we live in.  But I’m going to be a person that values people in a world where circumstances so often make them doubt their value.