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Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Very Best Way to Love!

Americans spend quite a bit of money on Valentine’s Day to show love. According to CNN, “Valentine’s Day love” amounted to nearly $2 billion on flowers, and $2 billion on candy!

Yet, when the candy’s gone and flowers fade, the very best way to love remains. God’s love, described in 1 Corinthians 13, never fails and it exceeds a price tag. 

Feel the warmth of His love:

“Love is patient”
“Love is kind”
“Love does not envy”
“Love does not boast”
“Love is not proud”
“Love is not rude”
“Love is not self-seeking”
“Love is not easily angered”
“Love keeps no records of wrongs”
“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth”
“Love bears all things”
“Love believes all things”
“Love hopes all things and endures all things”

God is the essence of love. Experiencing His love, first, is the key to loving like He does. “Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:8 Good News Translation)
“Patient” is listed as the first attribute of God’s love for you and for me. Perhaps it’s because we require so much of God’s patience? Maybe because it’s the most difficult yet necessary aspect of love to express?

“Patient”…Webster’s definition: able to remain calm and not become annoyed when waiting for a long time or when dealing with problems or difficult people.

When I lack patience with my children, my husband, and my friends, walls erect because I've become petty and prickly. I wonder, how many misunderstandings would vanish if patience was practiced.

When we’re patient, we control ourself when provoked. We endure; we’re in for the long haul; we don’t give up. Have you noticed how a lack of patience in our homes, our workplaces, our neighborhoods and everyday circumstances cause us to magnify offenses? As Charles Spurgeon put it, “A fly’s egg becomes as huge as if it were laid by an ostrich.” A deficiency in patience amplifies tension and conflict.

My friend offered advice. Practice the “60-second rule.” It jump starts the grace of patience and could put an end to conflict. “Don’t allow any negative, critical thought to occupy your mind for longer than 60 seconds. If it does it will gain power and lead you down a trail of negative thinking. What you think determines how you act.”

I discovered 60-seconds is too long. Make it 5-seconds!

I’m not suggesting we overlook all offenses. I’m thinking there are more that need to be let go of and less to be confronted. Perhaps letting go instead of slow baking offenses, entertaining that inward dialog that severs relationships, is the priceless love we all need to spend more on each other.

That way of love, the very best, never fails.

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