Read Romans 12:10
10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. (NIV)
It is sobering to realise that sometimes when we speak of loving someone we may be speaking of loving how they make us feel, loving what they do for us. Nothing at all wrong with that, but we have to realise that the love of which the Bible speaks is much more than that. True love is not self-centred at all, but is centred on the one we love.
Others can give us a measure of comfort and safety and respect and pleasure. But if this is at the core of our relationship with them then sadly they can become mere means to an end. When such a person ceases to give me what I want or need, I cease to love them. Little wonder that so many marriages fall apart if this is the sort of ‘love’ that undergirds them.
We need to see others as they are in relation to God, not just who they are in relation to us. We need to value them for who they are as beloved and unique creations of God, not value them for how they improve our lives. Though how good it is when they do improve our lives and we can improve their own!
I can legitimately desire someone I love to add something special to my life. But my love can never be automatically linked to the lovability of the other person. I am called on to love all, not just the lovely. It is good for love to be reciprocated, but true love must be able to survive not being reciprocated.
If love comes easily to us, we have probably fallen for one of its counterfeits. Such love doesn’t come naturally but supernaturally.