Happy Valentine’s Day!

Hey there! Hope y’all are doing well. Grab a cuppa something, and find a comfy spot to relax. February is the traditional month of cards, candy, candlelight dinners, chocolate (the letter ‘c’?) and love. Lots and lots of money will be spent on these things, to show that we love our spouse, or our fiancée, or our significant other. But there are other things I’d rather have when I think of love…

When I read the Scriptures, I discover a LOT about love.  Come to think of it, though, there are only a couple of dinners and no chocolate to be seen.  Maybe love is more than an expensive dinner out or a card or any ‘thing’ we can give.

1 Corinthians 13 gives a pretty clear picture of what true love is:

Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends;

Wow.   Just wow.  Do I live like that?  Love like that?  Think about it for a minute.

Am I truly patient with others?  The checkout line?  The rush-hour commute?  Do I speak kind words, even when things aren’t to my liking?  Am I truly happy when someone else is blessed, even if I’m not?  Do I have to brag about my latest accomplishment or acquisition, as though I’d gained it by myself – instead of recognizing that “Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father … ”  James 1:17.  Am I one who is ‘always right, doggone it!”?  Have I been rude?  A quick glance at the thesaurus uncovered many enlightening entries – crude, impolite, curt, short, vulgar, obscene, abrupt…

Do I insist that things go my way?  Am I irritable- short tempered and easily angered?  Am I resentful, rightly so or unjustly?  If I’m acting or feeling this way, I’m not walking in love.  Scripture leaves no room for ‘circumstantial behavior’.   It doesn’t leave room for excuses – I was tired.  I didn’t feel well.  The line was long and the clerk inept.  It was just a joke.  You know, if the other person would do what they are supposed to do, I wouldn’t be this upset.  Think about it – truly living according to love is drama free!

Am I secretly (or not) happy when somebody else ‘gets what’s coming to them’?  Do I enjoy the right things rather than the wrong things?  And I DO know which is which – it’s an innate sense of right and wrong – unless I’ve practiced loving the wrong things so much that my conscience needs to be overhauled.  What do I watch on TV, or at the show?  What do we read?  Listen to?

Finally, love bears all things, believes all (good) things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Seems to me that we are willing to bear very little, much less “All things”.   And how often are we eager to believe the worst about someone, and refuse to even acknowledge the good about them- especially if it weakens our case that they are somehow not worth putting up with?  Do we really hope for the best?  Or do we dwell on the worst and make that a self-fulfilling prophecy?  If we hope all things, we will be in positive prayer for all things.  Without hope, we’re looking for an exit ramp.

Endures all things.  Endures.  All.   Things.   Period.  No extenuating circumstances, no situational ethics, no easy way out.  And it doesn’t negate the prior list – while I’m enduring all things, I’m to do it with patience, kindness, and humility.  It finishes up with “Love never ends…”  That’s a pretty tall order – impossible, I’d say.

God created us.  So, He also provided the help we’d need to live true love.  He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to show us.  Then Christ died on a cross to take the penalty and punishment we’d earned by not living by the law of love.  Even more, He rose again and sent His Holy Spirit to live in us, and guide us, and empower us to live in the way of love.

Maybe you realize that you’ve not been living in a loving manner.  Maybe you need to apologize to your mate, your friend, a family member.  Maybe you need to talk to God about it.  Go ahead, He’s listening with kindness and compassion.  Those verses are a perfect description of God.

Maybe you just need to talk to someone about it – go ahead.  Find a pastor or priest and let them listen.  They can help you connect with God’s power to live a live of love.

 

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