Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What does it mean to love someone?


Do you promise to love, honor and obey, as long as you both shall live? A wedding service always reminds us of the promises we made on our own wedding day, doesn’t it? But what does it mean to love someone? Romantic novelists tell us that love is a whirlwind of shared joy and happiness, intermingled with hearty doses of nights out on the town, candle lit dinners for two, and heart pounding love letters. Psychologists tell us that to love someone is to spend “quality” time together and “communicate.”

All these things are good and surely couples who practice them have experienced a better relationship. But what if you are unequally yoked to an unbeliever? What if your spouse doesn’t act lovingly toward you? What if, right now, the Lord is blessing you with children and you can’t afford to, or have little energy left to pursue the fun dating activities that originally brought you together? Sadly, many couples, when faced with these types of growing pains, feel as though they have “fallen out of love”, seek a separation and ultimately divorce.

God, however, looks at love differently. Biblical love is a verb, a word that indicates action, rather than a noun which would indicate a feeling. We are to lay down our desires for those of another. One pastor put it, “Doing what is best for someone else regardless of the cost to self.”

Many married couples in Biblical times did not even know each other before marriage. Isaac and Rebekah, for example, lived many miles from each other. Others, such as Moses and Zipporah or Jacob and Leah were not even drawn together by a common bond or goal. When Jesus beseeched husbands and wives to love each other, He was not encouraging them to ignite the old flame through whirlwind nights on the town. He was, instead, encouraging us to “be” loving.

1 Corinthians 13 shows us love by God’s standards. It tells us that expressing agape or God’s love is a greater virtue than syrupy speech, indicating that verbalizing love is never as effective as “doing” love. It gives examples of how much greater love is than having exuberant spiritual gifts or giving of your life and possessions in selfless sacrifices.

Love is patient--even when you feel like forcefully expressing yourself.

Love is kind--even when others are not nice to you and you really want to retaliate.

Love is not jealous--especially when hubby comes home too tired to listen after giving all of his energy and time to work and you feel you are going unnoticed.

Love does not brag--even when you want to tell the world about your accomplishments.

Love is not arrogant--but is instead humble, assuming others to be right when they correct us.

Love does not act unbecoming--even when being rude and overbearing would allow you to get your way.

Love does not seek her own--even when it is profitable for you to do so.

Love is not easily provoked--even when you’ve been changing dirty diapers all day and your husband comes home irritated from a long day at work.

Love does not take into account wrong suffered--even when it seems every one is against you or you are openly attacked.

Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness--even when it seems that the other person deserved the ill treatment.

Love rejoices in the truth--even when it seems easier and more beneficial to lie or mislead.

Love bears all things--even when disappointments seem overwhelming.

Love believes all things--even when you’ve been hurt and don’t feel like trusting anyone.

Love hopes all things--even though your visions have been dimmed by years of disappointments.

Love endures all things--especially when you think you can’t endure the people or the circumstances in your life anymore.

Love never fails--even when you feel overwhelmed and your situation seems hopeless.

Love will not crumble when placed in stressful or difficult situations, but instead, remains selflessly faithful, even to the point of death.

St. Amant, Louisiana, USA

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