Love can be motivated by other emotions or desires. I have had more than one conversations with people about someone else in their life where I have said of that someone else, “They are loving you, the only way they know how. But that doesn’t mean they are loving you well.”
When loves comes from sources/motivations like control, selfishness, disbelief, manipulation, pride, and/or personal need, these motivations can alter how love is manifested.
This is perhaps why when Paul writes to Timothy he makes a rather interesting comment about love. He puts clarification around love that might seem rather strange until you realize love is not always as clearly defined as we might think and hope it to be.
Here is Paul’s clarifications:
1Ti 1:5-7 “Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.
Godly love, that loves others well, comes from
- A pure heart
- A good conscience
- A sincere faith
Note: these sources must be sought by the person giving the love, not by the one receiving it.
The solution to an impure heart can only be obtained by the possessor of that heart when they go to God and ask for His cleansing. Psa 51:2
Solving a wrong conscience can only be addressed by the owner of that conscience when they seek God’s wisdom and Word to be their guide. 2Co 1:12
James 3:17 “ . . . the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.”
Pro 2:6-8 “For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints.”
Pro 11:2-4 “When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom. The integrity of the upright will guide them, but the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them. Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.”
How do we love other’s well? Have a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. Love in a righteous, upright, and wise manner. Evaluate yourself and seek and accept God’s grace and wisdom that you might truly love others well.