Most people look at love as an emotion….something you feel or sense. But this kind of love is like writing love in the sand. It looks like good and you think it will last…until…
…the initial high starts to wane. Maybe it’s a good thing…like a red flag telling you to look deeper Dah-ling, this person isn’t who they appear to be. More typically though it’s a first disagreement or a discovery that the object of your affection isn’t actually perfect. Anyway…the feeling lessens…
You move along and start to settle into a rhythm and routine then….
Then something serious happens or you meet another “more perfect” person for you and…
You say…”It’s not you, it’s me.” or “I just don’t love you anymore.”
That my friends is not what love is.
In dating relationships it’s okay to let people go who aren’t heading in the same direction as you or just aren’t someone you can build a life with. By all means…let those people go. Or people who make you feel lesser than or bad about yourself.
But love in marriage, long term, and family relationships. Love is not an emotion, my friend. It’s a CHOICE.
It’s a decision you make to be kind when you’d rather cut them down to size or prove you’re better or smarter.
It’s being patient when you are frustrated.
It’s not saying I told you so with your chest puffed out when you’re right.
It’s choosing to stay focused on the current situation and not bringing up every error that person has ever made.
It’s choosing to be happy for and celebrate one another’s victory…even when we’ve not had a victory in a while.
Love is holding someone’s hand and saying don’t be afraid, I’ll be right here with you.
Love is bending down and pulling someone out of the muck they’re in and helping them to clean up. Cheering them on. Believing in them.
I always want to guard and protect those I love but sometimes love is letting someone do what they want to even when you know it will probably end badly. Letting someone learn the hard way is sometimes the only way. Love steps back and allows people to make their own choices. But is willing to help after the person crashes and burns WITHOUT judgment and “I told you so.”
Love tells the truth even when it’s difficult and uncomfortable.
The reason I value my Mom so much is that she gave me boundaries as a kid with consequences but didn’t hover over me as an adult. She let me fall, but was there for me to love me when I did. Her love never quit.
The reason I love Jesus so much is that He never gave up on me, and let me figure out for myself who I wanted to be. His love never fails.
“I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love.With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.” Jeremiah 31:3
I’m learning to love people better even those I completely disagree with. Some days I do better at it than others.
Point to ponder while you wander… God is love. And love is…
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NLT
Mark 11. It challenges me. Calls me higher. And inspires me.
“Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.” Mark 11:22-25 NLT
This passage has a simple message…just ask, believe, and you’ll receive.
But a life of faith isn’t lived in a plastic bubble. Life gets hard and messy ad complicated. We get all tangled up in emotion.
That is where this one small caveat comes in. Verse 25…“But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”
Unforgiveness. A seemingly small thing that can actually taint you and imprison you in in the past, and simultaneously blocking you from receiving from God.
God takes this forgiving thing seriously. Not as a judgmental law thing, but as an I love you thing. Choosing to forgive releases you from the bondage of the past. It allows you to move forward and be healed. This forgiveness is the very thing Jesus was talking about in Mark 11 and Matthew 6.
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15
Point to ponder while you wander…If you hold on to this anger and hurt it becomes unforgiveness, and that becomes bitterness! That’s why you are required to forgive others. Not as a law…but as an invitation to be free from bondage. And the added bonus…forgiveness aligns you to be able to receive from God.