Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Let's get love right

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, "I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear." Love is indeed harder to sometimes abide within, but the actions of hatred come easier than many would imagine. Love requires investment of one's self - entirely and without hesitation. Hatred has a very low 'ignition point' most of the time - making it an easy 'burn' for us, but hatred, like love, has to remain fueled in order to actually continue to grow.

Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong. (I Corinthians 13:4-5 TLB)

The total truth about love is probably not known to any of us. I think we all see bits and pieces of love in action around us - experiencing it in varying degrees depending upon a number of factors ranging from our own receptiveness to the time or season of our lives in which it is experienced. Too many of us think of love as a "thing" - clearly forgetting true love is a person - Christ! We forget that love is shown long before it is known. 

If we remember that all written in this passage in the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians is really about a person (Christ), then we can see how it is possible for love to not demand its own way. We know this is not always the case with we humans, for we get our way muddled up in the mess of this thing called relationship all the time. We want this - they want that. We think it should be done this way - they have another idea. All the while, 'our way' is demanding to be heard, honored, and responded to. 

Just because these words best describe our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, doesn't mean we might not have the potential to rise to this level of love in our own lives. In fact, I believe this is why this chapter was written - to show us the opposites between love and hatred, between sacrifice and stubbornness. The words would be quite damning if there were no hope of a "way" to exhibit this kind of selfless love, wouldn't they?

If we struggle with jealous thoughts, envy of any kind, we know just how hard it can be to get to the place we let go of those emotions that wreak havoc on our thought life. The very idea of letting go requires trust. Trust requires truth - the very thing we blow out of the water anytime jealousy or envy enter into our thoughts! Instead of truth, we rationalize a whole lot of untruth - we accept the lies because they seem more "realistic" than the truth. 

To be truly loving as Christ loves each of us, we begin to allow him to replace the imbalance in our emotions with the perfect balance of his peace. We allow more of his truth to enter into the places where any untruths have been allowed to exist for any length of time. We open up to his love, in turn finding ourselves able to really begin to love others in small ways that model his love. We may not get to the point we love as he loves right away, but live with him long enough and his love gets pretty ingrained into the fibers of your being! In time, he gives us eyes and ears to see or hear things which foster love, reducing the burden of hatred exponentially in our world! Just sayin!