Recently I have had the need to really examine all facets of love: what is love? how can you tell the difference between love and lust? can we possibly love God, whom we cannot see or touch, in the same way that we love our spouses, who we can see and touch? why is it so often that we seem to hurt the ones we love the most? how can we be expected to show love to those who purposefully hurt us?
These are all absolutely huge questions and would take more time and space than I have to write about here, but rest assured, these are some of the questions I have to tackle every single day as a Pastor and Counselor, so I need to be able to help people get to these answers.
The absolute best way is for us to understand what God what’s us to know about His concept of love. Luckily, love is very easy to define and we have even been given the perfect example of perfect love. I will give that to you in just a few moments, but please know that the reason we get caught up in needing answers to these questions is because we are human and we often refuse to see the answers we know right in front of our face because we allow ourselves to be ruled by our emotions. Did you know that your emotions lie to you more than everyone else in the world combined? Your emotions tell you that you are lonely or frustrated for no good reason when there is ALWAYS a reason for every emotion you feel.
No to the answer. Let’s look at how God defines what love is for us in 1 Corinthians 13:4-5:
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Isn’t this the most simple, yet awesome definition of what love should be? If we break this down, we will see that is truly is the perfect love and it is the love that Jesus Christ stood upon as He allowed Himself to be nailed to a cross and killed for sin that He never committed.
- Love is PATIENT – we must always be patient with the ones we love. They are human and therefore will often act in ways we wish they would not and say things we wish they had not. But rest assured that they will – and rest assured that you have too! You know that when you make mistakes you want and need for people to be patient with you, so why would you not want to patient with them. This is particularly true with children. If you are impatient with a child, you run the risk of damaging their fragile emotional states forever. Always remember – Love is PATIENT.
- Love is KIND – by kind God is saying “please be KIND, ESPECIALLY when you do not feel like being kind.” Yes this can be very hard to do, but you will know for certain that you truly love someone or that they truly love you when you are being kind to them when they have been less than kind to you and vice versa. Kindness costs you nothing!! Imagine if you simply smiled at the waitress who brings you your dinner – she may have gotten no tips all evening and has been yelled at by many people including her boss. Your smile could be the one bring moment in her day and it could turn the entire day around. Always remember – LOVE is KIND.
- Love DOES NOT ENVY – have you ever been in a public place and someone of the opposite sex walks by and they are simply beautiful? Do you, even for a second, imagine yourself with them? That is envy. Do you look at other couples, and the things they have, and the way they act, and think, “I wish we were more like them?” That is envy. Envy is a lack of contentment with what God already blessed you with. Always remember – LOVE DOES NOT ENVY.
- Love does NOT BOAST and IS NOT PROUD – this is the reverse of envy, but on steroids. This is when you constantly go around telling everyone who will listen that you are experiencing the perfect relationship and you always have and you always will. When you boast to others, you actually open them up to feel envy, so your boasting can cause others to sin!!! When you find yourself being proud of your marriage, why not tell your spouse just how much you love them and how happy you are to be with them? Always remember – LOVE does NOT BOAST and IS NOT PROUD.
- Love does NOT DISHONOR OTHERS and it is NOT SELF-SEEKING – this is a stark reminder that we are never to dishonor anyone that we love nor are we to be selfish within our relationships. Here if you always find yourself upset when your not getting to always do what you want to do or get to eat where you want to eat, then you are being selfish and self-seeking. As well, if you dishonor other people, you are going to quickly find yourself alone as people will not put up with that for very long. After all, how long would you want to be with someone who always puts you down and insists on always doing what they want to do and your wants and needs do not matter to them? Always remember – Love does NOT DISHONOR OTHERS and it is NOT SELF-SEEKING.
- Love is NOT EASILY ANGERED – when you truly love someone else, you will find yourself getting angry with them hardly ever. I have yet to find any subject that is worth fighting with my wife about. Why? Because nothing here on Earth is more important to me than she is. Obviously God comes first, she runs an incredibly close second, and therefore is she tells me one day that the sky is purple, then I just smile and realize she is having a bad day and I just agree with her. Sure I could correct her and we could argue over nothing, but I know that later in the evening she is going to come back to me and tell me that she was wrong to say the sky is purple but she is having a horrible day and just needed to vent. I do the exact same thing and she treats me with the same love. Why get angry over nothing? Always remember – Love is NOT EASILY ANGERED.
- Love KEEPS NO RECORD OF WRONGS – when we ask God for forgiveness of our sins, the Bible tells us that “He is quick to forgive.” In fact, He forgives us immediately. He keeps no record of our wrongs. So why do we have the right to keep a record of the wrongs people have done to us? Answer – we do not, and we should not. If you are still bringing up something that your spouse did or said to you 5 years after the incident, the problem is with YOU and not them. You want and need forgiveness from God and from others – therefore you should always be quick to forgive others.
It is my prayer that you will read these words carefully. After all, these are God’s words and God’s definition of love, not mine. Therefore we should be students of His Word and we should know exactly what God expects from us and then put it into practice each and every day.
It may sound cliche, but when it comes to love, it is the little things, all put together, that truly matter. Your spouse does not forget when you do not get angry with them when they mess us. They remember when you hug them and tell them you forgive them when they mess us. Their hearts melt when you smile at them, tell them how much you love them and how much they mean to you more than one month or twice a year. Every couple that I know of that has experienced a successful marriage has the same things in common: they have excellent communication with each other and they live out 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 each and every day with each other.
Finally, never forget what Jesus did for you that horrific day on the cross – He took all of your sin, past, present, and future, and told God, “All of these sins I want put upon myself so that all people may be seen as sinless in Your eyes Father.” That is worth giving your life for – and I pray you have made that decision. Love God, Love Jesus, Love Your Spouse, and Love Yourself.
You will never go wrong by loving others.
With a heart full of love for you,
Pastor Brad Komgenick