Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Things no one will tell you about love....

Anyone who has ever had a teenager in the house knows the truth spoken when one says, "You can't tell them anything!" Teens, by nature are very hard headed and also very sure of themselves. It's a brain chemistry thing. It means that they are going to make some very painful and hurtful mistakes, but once they learn the lesson, one also hopes that they will have it all firmly implanted in the hard drive for future reference!

I speak from experience, not because my own teenage daughter is all that hard headed, but because I was. VERY hard headed, indeed! I insisted on never listening to anyone over the age of 25 and I made a lot of costly, well learned mistakes. I have to say those lessons that were painful are ones I generally didn't repeat. Looking back, there were some things that I wish I could have listened to a little closer. I can't say it would have changed my path, but it might have at least slowed me down just a titch.

I wish that one of the things I could have learned about without all of that painful experience was love. I know that love is an intensely personal thing that differs for each person on an individual level, but there are some universal truths about love that I believe we all could benefit from.

In a land where divorce is commonplace, rudeness is accepted and common courtesy is not the norm, having some basic rules about loving others might keep some of the sanity in our daily living.

First off, let me say that love is a choice. It is not an emotion, passion, lust or a state of something we can be in, per se. Love is a process of decision making that takes over when we care deeply for someone. Love is a choice. We choose to stay when leaving would be easier, we choose to forgive when we have every right to be angry, loving someone means sacrificing our rights and yet not resenting those choices to do so... Ok, well at least not every time!

Not sure I know what I'm talking about? I agree, my view point is unconventional, but it is biblical... Check this out: Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. Love doesn't strut, Doesn't have a swelled head, Doesn't force itself on others, Isn't always "me first," Doesn't fly off the handle, Doesn't keep score of the sins of others, Doesn't revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 MSG) Does that sound like a volatile emotional response to you? Yeah, me neither! Wish I had known that when I was seventeen and trying to make some very important decisions about my life...

Secondly, love has lots of different stages. Weird. We grow up watching Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Julia Roberts and we buy into Hollywood's lie that it all looks the same. That love will find us in a coffee shop somewhere, and the guy will be the same guy for the rest of our lives: always romantic, always well dressed and always showered. Um... yeah... Nope. It changes. It comes at us in our youth full of hormones and looking very passionate, but if we truly do love, we stick it out through baby vomit, weight gain, balding heads and crabby pants. It becomes much more like the super comfy sweats that you slide into on a Sunday afternoon. Not something we want our neighbors to have to look at, but we love em just the same!

Lastly, love of the durable kind isn't really possible without God. We just can't wrap our heads around it without that most perfect of examples. Christ truly had the love thing down pat. He loves us when we are most unlovable. Christ loves us even when, in our sin and ignorance, we hate him. That is what I mean by choice. Christ has every right to leave us in the dust and despair that is the human condition... He doesn't. He picks us up out of that filth, brushes us off, gives us living water and chooses to love us even when we don't deserve it. I am immensely grateful for that, aren't you?

Choosing love isn't the easy thing to do. Choosing love isn't always understood by outsiders. Choosing love means that you might get hurt. Choosing love is, however the most important charge we get from Christ. "You didn't choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won't spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, he gives you. "But remember the root command: Love one another. (John 15:16, 17 MSG)

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