Love–like faith–is action! The heartbreaking evil of this week and the anger it generates took me to this old look at love. May we all prayerfully seek the love of God and then let it flow out of our lives. We change the atmosphere by living with a loving attitude. 1 Corinthians 13 show us what true love looks like!
Let’s practice being people who are:
Patient. I don’t need to get even.
Kind. I seek to give and to do good.
Content. I don’t want what others have.
Humble. I don’t need to make myself look good.
Peaceable. I don’t always have to be right.
Courteous. I show respect.
Serving. I don’t have to get my own way.
Calm. I don’t blow up and lose my temper.
Forgetful. I don’t keep a list of ways I’ve been hurt.
Righteous. I want the best for others.
Truthful. I love God’s word and try to obey it.
Protective. I don’t say hurtful things about (or to) others.
Positive. I believe the best about others.
Hope. I believe good will come.
Endure. I will not give up.
The flip side of love is exactly what we are seeing played out in the news…individuals declaring and acting on selfish hatred:
I will get even! I will not be patient–I will not suffer long for you!
I have given enough! I don’t want to do anything good for you!
I want more!
I am more important than you!
I am right!
I don’t care about what you need or think!
I want you to do it my way!
I am mad and you need to know it!
I have been hurt by you too many times!
I want you to get what you deserve!
I don’t care what God says–I’m doing it my way!
I will say what I want–so what if it hurts you!
I know you can’t do that–you’re a loser!
I know you will never be loving to me!
I give up!
For more than half of my life, Valentine’s Day has been celebrated with one man: my husband, Craig. His love has been a blessing and privilege I could not earn and often don’t deserve. It has shown me what the love of God looks like. His love brought stability to me–and created two more loves of my life: our children Rusty and Riesa. But this really is a piece about the source of love…not just lovely samples of it!
God, in His infinite wisdom, actually led us to have this poem read at our wedding. We didn’t honor God in those years, nor did we understand how true this is. But accepting truth doesn’t make something true. It either is true or it is not. The love of God as a necessity is truth.
Human love is fraught with problems that come from our human nature–selfishness, self-centeredness and a lack of faithfulness. We say “I love you” and really mean “I love how you make me feel.” The only way we can really love is to receive the love of God and let it pass through to others. True agape love–the love that is God–is beyond our human abilities.
It intrigued me to discover that only Peter expressed his love directly to the Lord. We often talk of ‘loving Jesus’ but the Scriptures do not record many such expressions. There are many commands to love God and discussions of love, but stating love directly is a different story. You may recall that the disciple Peter saw himself as totally committed to Jesus prior to his arrest…and then he betrayed him three times. It’s also interesting to note the kiss Judas betrayed Jesus with came from ‘phileo’ love–the love that is based on shared interests. When Jesus restored Peter, he asked him: “Do you (agape) love me?” Three times Jesus asked about Peter’s love. Twice he asked Peter if we agape loved him, and Peter replied, “I phileo love you.” Finally, Jesus asked him if Peter phileo loved him. Jesus knows our limits and he agape loves us…he meets us where we are at!
And that brings me back to this Valentine’s Day. Craig’s love changed my life…changed who I was because it gave me a glimpse of the faithfulness of God’s love. Make no mistake: love matters. We are called to love but true love only happens when it flows from the Creator.
We love each other because he loved us first.
If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?
1 John 4:19-20
Celebrate those who love you. But most of all celebrate the One who is love and made it all possible..