2007-10-02 - Isn't Love Divine?
Originally Published 2006-06-30
Philippians 1:9-10 (The Message) Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head, and test your feelings, so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush.
LOVE ... friendships, relationships, dating, marriage, families ... what does it all mean? What is it all about? And how do you remain loving in these different areas, when it's not returned? The easy way is to take the love away and hide it, put it behind a wall, & feel nothing at all. Or there are always those who can ignore it & ignore it & ignore it, until it becomes too much - and then everything explodes just like a pressure cooker (that, unfortunately would be me).
There's the "vengeance is mine" attitude and the "let's see how you like it when it's done to you" attitude. Oh, and by the way, the last one rarely, if ever, works. If they were going to get it, they would have gotten it when they said/did it to you, or when you communicated how you felt when that happened. If they didn't get it with all that, they most likely aren't going to learn from you. It's at that point that I simply leave it to God, because that is pretty much the only way they will understand it. So, I ask "what's all this `to-do' about love?" ¹
Within any type of relationship, if the foundation is based on love, it is as unpredictable as building and maintaining a relationship on sand. With its random reliability, it can change on you in a moment's notice, without any advance warning. In essence of what Joshua Harris said in his book, "I Kissed Dating Goodbye," don't found your relationships - most especially your marital relationship - "on our culture's defective attitudes & patterns for romance."
I'm not saying love isn't essential for a good relationship; however, I believe it is not foundational. Let me explain further. Love is great, but we must keep in mind that we tend to view love as an emotion, when truly it is so much more. It's simplistic to say and to know that, but putting it into functional, active, realistic daily use is far less simple - especially when you or your spouse says or does the wrong thing at the wrong time. That's when it becomes all too easy to respond in a very unloving way, something of which I'm sure we have all done (Me? Never!).
It sometimes is - maybe most of the time - easier to deal with our own version of love. We can place it on the most basic level, and then it becomes ok to flip our "love switch" on and off. We allow ourselves our own excuses, as to why it's okay to build a wall and hide behind it, often thinking that it protects us. It gives us an unrealistic way of thinking that we can prevent ourselves from those feelings of hurt, anger, and resentment. Once again, Joshua Harris reminds us that " ... instead of acting on what they know is right, [God's design] couples let their feelings carry them away [ ... & forgetting - sometimes conveniently- that] maintaining a relationship takes a lot of time and energy."
Father, I pray that you become the ruler of our hearts and minds. Teach us truly how to love. Teach us Your design for love and how live it out. Sometimes, Lord, it can be so difficult to remain in a loving spirit, when it's easier to maintain ourselves within our own humanistic boundaries. Forgive us, Lord, where we have failed You and served our own desires. It is just easier for us to understand our way to Your perfect way. Equip us to live out our love for Your glory. In Jesus' name, AMEN.
Comments or Questions?
¹ unknown author or source