Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Love: Not as the World Gives--Linden Malki

'"What the world needs now is love, sweet love, the only thing that there's just too little of..." In some ways, the world has just too much of what is too often called "love". We  too often see it as a label for selfishness, possessiveness, jealousy, emotional sloppiness, ego gratification, excuses for bad behavior, irresponsibility, I'm sure we could all make our own lists. Our rose-colored glasses can blind us to evil. Too often, the emotional and chemical high of butterflies in the gut override our good sense, and when the butterflies die, we want out.

We have an incredible description of what God means by "love": "Love is patient and kind, is not jealous or conceited or proud; love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs.." This sounds too good to be workable. But there is more: "Love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth." In other words, love is not an excuse for bad behaviour or deception. There is always the context of wisdom, discernment and responsibility. At its best, "love never gives up, and its faith, hope and patience never fail." *

Does that sound hard? Like so many aspects of a godly life, it is impossible on our own. Jesus once said about peace that it is not what the world offers, but what He gives. That applies to love as well: He offers to fill us with His love so that we have it to give away. You can learn a lot in a long-term marriage; I finally learned that arguing doesn't work nearly as well as shutting up and praying.

The summer I was married, I got this unforgettable advice from my aunt: "When I was first married, I thought I should put my husband first. This didn't work. I found that if I put God first, everything else fell into place." We were priviledged to be at their 60th wedding anniversary--and my husband's comment: " It was great! The house was full of people, and nobody was yelling!"
*I Corinthians 13 (TEV)

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