Love IS: Forever

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Love is a complex idea. It isn’t something that can be tied down to a single expression, feeling, or relationship. Love goes beyond all our boundaries. It takes us to all new heights. And love makes life worth living. In this final post of the series, I want to talk about how love is meant to outlast everything. First, one more time through our verses:

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV)

So many relationships come to an end because people “fell out of love” with one another. But we can’t fall out of true love. That’s because true love outlast every hardship. True love does not despair. True love can carry any load.  According to verse seven, love bears, believes, hopes, and endures ALL things. The ultimate evidence of this is not how we’ve been loved by others, but how we’ve been loved by our Maker. Think about it…God’s love has endured a sinful and broken humanity for thousands of years. And you know what? His love has never diminished.

Praise the Lord! He is good. God’s love never fails

Psalm 136:1 (CEV)

Instead of looking at each of us to define love, we should really look at the one who invented the concept. I’ve loved imperfectly. You’ve loved imperfectly. But God is perfect love. Not only is God’s love never ending, but He continued to rescue humanity from their weaknesses and mistakes, purely out of His love. Eventually, He would show His love to the point where He would come to earth to die for those who had even despised His love. At our worst, God’s arms were stretched wide open.

…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 8:5 (ESV)

Look around. We aren’t worthy of His love. Not a single one of us. We all sin, whether in thought, words, or actions, every single day. We’ve all turned our backs on Him at some point. We’ve all tried to live life independent from Him at some point too. But He is the picture of what true love really looks like. God’s love isn’t extended to just those who deserve it, but to every single human ever created. God’s love has just been given to you and me when we were at our best (whatever that looks like). God’s love has endured all of our shortcomings. Out of His love He has bore our sins. Out of His love he patiently desires the salvation for every human being. Out of His great love, He carries the grief of our sinful deeds.

Because we are people of God, we should be people of love. Not a love of our own imagination, but a love as demonstrated by God himself. Those in your life, even your spouse, may not seem worthy of you love. But that isn’t what matters. A godly love is one that transcends worthiness. Don’t let people’s faults get in the way of your love for them, especially when it comes to your spouse. I’ll end with a quote from American author and theologian, Frederick Buechner, because I absolutely love it!

The love for equals is a human thing–of friend for friend, brother for brother. It is to love what is loving and lovely. The world smiles. The love for the less fortunate is a beautiful thing–the love for those who suffer, for those who are poor, the sick, the failures, the unlovely. This is compassion, and it touches the heart of the world. The love for the more fortunate is a rare thing–to love those who succeed where we fail, to rejoice without envy with those who rejoice, the love of the poor for the rich, of the black man for the white man. The world is always bewildered by its saints. And then there is the love for the enemy–love for the one who does not love you but mocks, threatens, and inflicts pain. The tortured’s love for the torturer. This is God’s love. It conquers the world.

Love others. Love your spouse. Love them deeply. Be patient to the very end, no matter how long, and always reach for kindness as your expression of love. Never seek to do what is wrong, or to see revenge or hurt in others, but shower your marriage and all other relationships with truth. Set God as your example and love those around you with an unending kind of love. May your marriages, and all your relationship blossom into beautiful expressions of heaven.

Love IS: True

Welcome to part three of a four part series on ways to define love according to the bible. In part one, we explored some of the emotional do’s and don’ts of love. In part two, it was all about acting out our love for others through kindness. This post is more focused on the foundation of love. Before we jump in let’s look at our series verses.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV)

Right in the middle of this passage is this statement about love: “it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.” According to the dictionary, truth is something that is proven based on fact and reality. But in this context, truth corresponds with what we do because the opposite to truth is wrongdoing. So truth is a correct way of living based on a correct way of thinking. Wrongdoing is a false way of living based on a false way of thinking. We all know that how we think is how we will live. To rephrase the previous statement: love wants nothing to do with falsehood and bad living but celebrates the truth and the right way to live.

The person who deceives us the most, is us. In the church atmosphere there is a lot of talk about how Satan deceives us. He is the father of lies and the first of anyone to lie. It is his main weapon against humanity. However, his work is easy because of humanity’s propensity to sin and gravity towards rebellion against God. Rebellion against God is rebellion against truth. In essence, it is to rejoice in wrongdoing. In the book of James we’re told that this wrongdoing occurs when we are led astray by our own desires. We are the masters of lying to ourselves. We can justify about any action. Humans, because of our sin nature, have an ability to make wrong, look right. This can easily happen in any relationship, especially a marriage. Anything we do in marriage that is contrary to biblical principles is the equivalent to rejoicing in wrongdoing. That might sound harsh but it’s true.

When we care about someone, sometimes we can give them the power to convince us to do something we know is not right. When we love someone, we can fall victim to the idea that we just want them to be happy and we’ll let them pick their path. We don’t intercede because we don’t want to make waves. I’ve known a lot of people who have had convictions in their own hearts about something, but they’ve allowed their spouse to derail their pursuit of those convictions. That’s why it’s important to have open dialogue with one another, no matter the issue. And we have to know that condoning others in doing wrong, or participating in something we know to be wrong, is not showing love, it’s showing the exact opposite.

True love has to be founded on truth thinking and true living. A relationship that includes secrecy of any kind is on shaky ground. It’s the equivalent of telling your spouse that you don’t trust them. How can that be love?

A relationship where either person seeks to get revenge, make the other pay, or intentionally harm them emotionally through words or actions, has disaster written all over it. A heart of love for another never seeks their harm but always their wellbeing.

True love is love built on truth. Right way of thinking, leading to the right way of living. What is a true way to think about our spouse? They are a gift, unique, with gifts and talents too. They have dreams and a purpose. They are your spouse, but first and foremost they are God’s child. We should treat them like the prince or princess they are, even when they don’t act like it. We control how we see them, and we control how we love them.

Peace in Christ brothers and sisters