“I Love You” is an Incomplete Sentence

photo (2)“I love you” is an incomplete sentence. Those three words are but the beginning of an unspoken, complete sentence. There’s a “because” or “until” or “if” or “but” that follows the “I love you.”

“I love you…because you make me happy.”
“I love you…but I love someone else more.”
“I love you…until you cheat on me.”
“I love you…because you’re my son.”
“I love you…if you love me.”

We love because we find in the beloved something that is lovable.  We see, we know, and then we love. Or, at least, we promise to love.

Not so with God. God is the only one for whom, “I love you,” is a complete sentence. He loves first, without finding anything worthy of love in us. He does not seek the lovable, the likable, or the one who will love Him back. Even before He found you, even before He created you, from the very foundation of the world, He loved you. Indeed, His love created you, formed you in your mother’s womb, re-created you in the womb of the Church, and continues to love you even when you are mean, spiteful, and unmerciful. God loves you because God is love. He does what He is.

Men in search of a wife look for a woman who is attractive, appealing in many ways, one who will love them back. Not God. He found an ugly, unwashed, deformed, disease-infested prostitute whose life was littered with impurity, infidelity, and every manner of wickedness. This woman God made His bride. He washed her clean of every filth, forgave her past, clothed her in His own righteousness, and pronounced her beautiful. The one for whom God did this—she is you. His love transforms the beloved into something truly lovely.

He takes me, the most unlovable of men, and before I clean up my act, before I show signs of repentance, before anything, God loves me. He loves me in the very embodiment of His love, Jesus the Christ. He is love made flesh. And in His flesh, made one with His body, I partake of the love of God.

God is the only one who can say, “I love you,” and no more. For He speaks truth, the full truth, and in that full truth we receive the full love of God in Christ.


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4 thoughts on ““I Love You” is an Incomplete Sentence

  1. Sam Pakan on said:

    Chad, I love all you posts, but the recent ones on grace and love are piercing and poignant. Thank you for helping me focus on the truth of God’s love and the absolute insanity of my attempts to clean myself up to be presentable.

  2. This icon displays my daily confession, that I love me too much.

    The essay seems to ask, ‘What compels love?’ This is an interesting thread, but I do not concur with the premise. [That “I Love You” is an incomplete sentence.]
    Subject + verb + Direct Object = complete sentence.

    Simple in English, profound in the Koine Greek New Testament. “I love you” may rightly be seen as a compelling, not incomplete thought.

    It compels our further consideration. For where it is translated “I love”, in the GNT it is a single word often rendered literally as “I am loving”, [first person – present tense – continuing action] in behalf of the direct object. And it is one of three GNT words for love: phileo-, eros-, or agapeo, the last of which is godly, sacrificial love as in 1 John 4 and 1 Corinthians 13.

    Thus, God’s “I love you” is NOT an incomplete sentence, ” … because God is love.” (1 John 4:8).

    “I love you” expresses a thought worth exploring for its beauty and magnificent munificence. But it is far from incomplete. Yet how might we seek to completely understand and express the infinite? God’s love for us is infinite. And the impact of God’s infinite love for us will never be completely understood until we stand in His presence in the glory of Heaven.

    To complete the thought we need add only the phrase “As …”, from the words of Christ who told us to “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34-35). It is not so much that “I Love You” is an incomplete sentence, but rather that life itself is incomplete without LOVE.

    Paul said, (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, paraphrase) ‘If I do not have love, I am a clanging gong, … I AM nothing, … I gain nothing.” The love that matters for eternity comes from the regenerated heart or it is not love. The un-regenerated heart can only love itself, and acts in its own self-interest to the exclusion of all else.

    So let us give our hearts to God daily, and ask him as the lyrics remind us,
    “Change my heart, O God. Make it ever true. Change my heart, O God. May I be like you.”

    Teach us to how to love, O Lord, as You loved us.

    Give us grace to love as You loved us. For such was Your love that while we were yet sinners, You become one of us and died for us that we might HAVE eternal life and live forever with You.


  3. yet “i love you” as a complete sentence is something we can grow into, i hope and believe, through the development by the Holy Spirit.

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