2004-02-14 - God's Kind of Love
Encore 1997-02-21 ~ Updated
We in America celebrate love every year on Feb. 14. We commemorate St. Valentine's life. According to legend, this third-century priest defied the Roman Emperor's order and continued to secretly marry soldiers to their fiancees. Valentine's Day can be a wonderful opportunity to express our love to our family and friends. But the world, and even we Christians, sometimes have some erroneous ideas about what true love is. Some people think that love is about having power over others, controlling them - but God's love is about service and submission.
Gal 5:13 (NIV) You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.
To some people, when they say they love someone, what they mean ist hat they want to possess the person. They are interested in what that person can do for them. But there is little or no mutuality. They don't care what the other person is feeling or thinking. That isn't love; it's using someone. Love is not selfish:
1 Cor 13:5 (NIV) It (love) is not rude, it is not self-seeking,it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Some of us have been hurt -- whether by parents, a spouse, siblings, a boyfriend ... and we equate love with pain. But God's love, the only true love, is kind, and any pain that is inflicted such as the sometimes-necessary "tough love," is unintentional.
1 Cor 13:4 (NIV) Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
God's kind of love is kind, patient, gracious, unselfish. It is true that mutual, healthy relationships are not just about pleasing someone, and there needs to be mutual repsect, and give-and-take. However, we should get joy from doing things for those we love, from showing our love. When we love someone with God's kind of love, we try to think of what we can do for them.
John 15:13 (NIV) Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
True love does not end because someone makes a mistake. True love continues and grows stronger.
1 Cor 13:7 (NCV) Love patiently accepts all things. It always trusts, always hopes, and always remains strong.
I believe the key to loving people with true love, is to love Christ and then to ask for His help to see people through His eyes. That prayer can revolutionize a life.