Love, but do I have too?

Oh boy! We think of love as a feeling or something we do when others are nice to use. Yet, that is not Biblical love. God requires so much more. There is an old DC Talk song that states “Love is a verb”. And so it is. I hope this guest post will help answer the following question: How will you be a loving person today?

Love

Recently I was very upset with an acquaintance of mine. I don’t usually get that angry with someone I don’t really know, but I felt that this person had been unfair and troublesome, and I was having a hard time letting go and forgiving them for what they’d done. To work out my angst, I spent some time with God, praying about the situation and reading the Bible. I started reading I Corinthians 13 from the Amplified Bible.

1 Corinthians 13 (AMP)

The Excellence of Love

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels but have not love [for others growing out of God’s love for me], then I have become only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal [just an annoying distraction]. And if I have the gift of prophecy [and speak a new message from God to the people], and understand all mysteries, and [possess] all knowledge; and if I have all [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but do not have love [reaching out to others], I am nothing. If I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it does me no good at all.

Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. t is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured.* It does not rejoice at injustice but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail].  Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one]*, hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening].

Love never fails [it never fades nor ends]. But as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for the gift of special knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part [for our knowledge is fragmentary and incomplete]. But when that which is complete and perfect comes, that which is incomplete and partial will pass away. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now [in this time of imperfection] we see in a mirror dimly [a blurred reflection, a riddle, an enigma], but then [when the time of perfection comes we will see reality] face to face. Now I know in part [just in fragments], but then I will know fully, just as I have been fully known [by God]. And now there remain: faith [abiding trust in God and His promises], hope [confident expectation of eternal salvation], love [unselfish love for others growing out of God’s love for me]*, these three [the choicest graces]; but the greatest of these is love.

*Bold mine.

I realized that I needed to love this person, which included looking for the best in them. This passage has helped me before with understanding how to love my kids and those I know well, but it was very helpful this time in getting past my resentment toward this person I hardly know, to see them as God does, and to care more about that person than my rights.

How can we be loving when it’s hard? Because God loved us, and we are His children.

Ephesians 5:1-2 NIV “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

Just as children who have grown up in unloving homes have difficulty knowing how to love; conversely, we who have experienced God’s love can truly love. Not only have we been loved, but we have been given a new nature.

Matthew 5:44 AMP “Love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may [show yourselves to] be the children of your Father who is in heaven.”

Praying for those who wrong us is a great place to start in loving them. We can also give up our rights in terms of what is owed us or what is fair. In short, we actively pursue their best, above our own.

~EB