A Guide To Love…

26 Dec

27 “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Luke 6:27-36 NIV

SO…

I like what verses 32-36 say. It is easy for most anyone to love those that love them and to be kind to those that are kind to them. But what about those who behave so selfishly or unkind? What about when our spouse is grouchy? What about when our kids are getting on our nerves? What about the co-worker that is difficult to work with? These verses tell me that I am to love them, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting ANYTHING in return… even reciprocated love and courtesy.

Wow! What a boot to the head that is for me today.

I have been so focused on my “needs” and how I feel about the fact that they aren’t being met. I have become so indignant about it that I have chosen to withdraw and seek fulfillment through other worldly sources.

I am tired. Honestly, I am tired of giving and not receiving. My selfishness tells me that it is perfectly reasonable to get fed up. My selfishness tells me that it is acceptable to expect respect and love from others. My selfishness tells me that if I stop receiving these things, it’s okay to act out and be mad and sometimes even reciprocate… like biting a baby that bites you, to teach the baby not to bite. That doesn’t make sense. If I was the baby, I would just want to bite back even harder… wouldn’t you?

So, I am supposed to take my “issues” to God and love my enemies and those that don’t behave the way I think they should. And what if they continue to fail to meet my needs?

The TRUTH is that I am not supposed to be placing the responsibility of my needs in the hands of men in the first place. Man will always fail to meet the standard set by God. God’s capable hands are where I should be placing the desires of my heart and my needs.

SO WHAT IS LOVE??

According to Corinthians 13:

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11 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 put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

SO…

Love means continuing to go to a home or a job or to a life that may not meet my idea of what life should look like, loving the people in it regardless of how well they perform, practicing loving kindness and patience, teaching others how to love me by loving them, trusting God, and acting in faith and hope.

It also means that I focus on the TRUTH which is never changing. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.

It may even mean that I have to redefine what love should feel like. I may be mistaking love for happiness. Maybe that’s it… maybe what I feel like I am missing is the excitement of a deeply desired first kiss, the feeling of a first touch, the comfort that comes when things just fall into place, freshly painted walls, kids with great grades who obey their father and mother, dogs that don’t pee in the house, a job that constantly pays more and never struggles to stay afloat.

One thing is for sure. I have to examine my expectations. I heard in AA years ago that “expectations are PREMEDITATED resentments.” I must be careful to keep my “magic magnifying mind” off of my expectations and on my acceptance, God, and His will for my life.

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