Monday, March 31, 2014

Love with Expectations, Part 2

Love is not provoked, or easily angered. Someone behaving in love does not “retaliate.” “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tender hearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing,” 1st Peter 3:8-9. “See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all,” 1st Thessalonians 5:15.

Love thinks no evil and certainly does not rejoice in it. Apathetic love that permits “loved ones” to rush off into every foolish whim that threatens their physical, emotional and spiritual safety is not love. Parents, this admonition is primarily for us. Love that is fine with deviant behavior for the sake of expression is actually timidly permitting loved ones to corrupt themselves and do damage that may never be repaired. Love provides boundaries because love has the welfare of others in mind; I will touch on this point more momentarily. It is enough to know that any “love” that pretends that standing in the path of another’s life if they are going the wrong way is wrong, are themselves in error and need to be reminded what Biblical love looks like. Christians of all ages, this admonition is for us.

Love rejoices in the truth. “I rejoiced greatly that I have found some of your children walking in the truth, as we received commandment from the Father,” 2nd John 1:4. “For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth,” 3rd John 1:3. Love rejoices in what is good and what is true. As Paul wrote to the church of Thessalonica, we are to pursue what is good both for ourselves and others. The unsaved need the gospel of Christ. Love provokes us to provide it whenever opportunity permits. Christians need exhortation to live a holy, sanctified life in the Lord. Children needs godly parents to provide a safe home with loving boundaries to give them an understanding that life is not just their self-seeking pursuit of gratification, but that life has choices that can effect others for the good or the bad. Some of these consequences are eternal in nature. Love wants what is best for our fellow man and what is best is that everyone hear, accept, and walk in the truth of God’s gospel.

The final five items create a tough fabric to love. It is a durable, powerful thread that binds us to another. Love bears with others. It brings hope and faith; indeed, hope faith and love abide when all else departs and vanishes away, 1st Corinthians 13:13. Love will even outlast hope and faith, for when eternity overtakes time and we are in Christ’s presence in the new Heavens and new Earth, hope and faith shall no longer be necessary, for what we have hoped for and had faith in shall be with us forever; and the guiding principle of the universe from that point on shall be divine love, expressed in God the Son and us, we who have believed to the saving of the soul. Love bears with all things and endures all things. Someone acting in love will contend with much to lend aid to the one they wish to do good to. As noted, love is not easily provoked and keeps no record of wrongs. This kind of persistent, patient, enduring love that is quiet, confident, humble and rooted in a godly desire to serve others, cannot fail. It is not the passionate, burning love of Hollywood that is here today and gone tomorrow as we seek to find another “lover” since the first one now bores us. It is a glimpse of God’s unfailing love that is unchanging, since our God is likewise unchanging, Malachi 3:6.

Having considered these things, let us now meditate on what it means to love with expectations. Today we are bombarded by images and ideas that love is an unfettered force that courses through one’s life when it finds them, and we should give way to its passions. This depiction of “love” is primarily motivated by sexual/sensual roots, and is short lived and highly disappointing. Divorce rates (even among Christians) sky rocket, and some people exchange lovers quicker than they change socks. Sound cynical? It is an alarming trend that depicts not love, but hedonism and the unbridled will of fallen man who apparently in his younger years never had the term “no” defined.

1 comment:

  1. Amen, Ian.

    Perhaps Jesus' directions about church discipline in Matthew 18:15-17 and Paul's instructions in I Corinthians 5 best demonstrate real love, focused on getting the person to make needed changes, but if he refuses, preventing him from influencing others.


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