A thought by Dallas Willard (2014-02-01) from his book, Renovation of the Heart: Putting On the Character of Christ (p. 130). NavPress. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
But if you really loved me you would do such and such. That is used over and over to get someone to do what someone wants them to do for them. But that’s not love. Love strives to do good for the one you love for their own sake but not for yours. We get this all wrong.
I can’t believe they won’t do that for me. If they really loved me they would. But that is not love.
Dallas says, “Love is not the same thing as desire, for I may desire something without even wishing it well, much less willing its good. I might desire a chocolate ice cream cone, for example. But I do not wish it well; I wish to eat it. This is the difference between lust (mere desire) and love, as between a man and a woman. Desire and love are, of course, compatible when desire is ruled by love; but most people today would, unfortunately, not even know the difference between them. Hence, in our world, love constantly falls prey to lust. That is a major part of the deep sickness of contemporary life.”
Love does not manipulate someone else to do what I want. No love does what it can to bring good into the life of the one you love.
So do you really love them?