'The Look of Love'
Wednesday, April, 11, 2018 | 1:12 PM | by Munholland
What does love look like? We often associate love with an attendant feeling. 'I love my wife.' 'I love custard pie.' 'I love tennis.' 'I love my brothers.' 'I love God.' As you read these, did you sense a different feeling with each one? We tend to think of love in the abstract and it's affective impact on us. But what does love look like? What are the attendant actions?
In 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, Paul lists the actions that demonstrate love for another person - friends, colleagues, fellow believers and non-believers.
"Love is patient, love is kind... Love rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." (I Cor 13:4, 6-8)
Love looks like patience. Patience helps us to be present with one another. It gives openness for other people to express their thoughts and feelings. Patience doesn't allow little things to disrupt a relationship. I think of patience as a form of grace which is the currency of all good relationships.
Love looks like kindness. Kindness is underrated today. The many kind acts show not only that we notice someone, but that we are willing to give a hand, and treat people with courtesy. Kindness comes alongside someone giving help and encouragement.
Love looks like the celebration of goodness. Taking stock of the good qualities that someone has, what they bring to the table, and who they are becoming is a beautiful way of celebrating goodness. It is most powerful when we verbalize these to the other person. Celebrating the good in others produces an attitude of gratitude and an atmosphere of good faith.
Love looks like protection. Paul wants us to be like those we admire who 'never said a negative word about anybody.' Protecting the reputation of people is important. If someone has a complaint, we don't dogpile on the person not there, but encourage the complainer to speak directly to the person with whom they are upset. Protection eschews gossip and public criticize. We can also protect another's spirit by being quick to give and receive forgiveness.
Love looks like ALWAYS trusting, hoping, and persevering. Love never fails. Our lives, our salvation, and our destinies are bound up in one another. We have been given a sacred and holy trust. We hold each other's wellbeing, growth, and opportunities in our hands. What God has entrusted to us we must never take lightly. Our call as Christians is not to be 'sometimes people', but to be 'ALWAYS people'.
In a movie entitled 'What If?', a man was struggling with how to reconcile a relationship. An angel figure said, 'It's simple'. Completely frustrated, the man began to say how hard and uncertain the road ahead would be, to which the angel responded, 'I said, "It's simple." I never said it was easy.'
Relationships are challenging. There is no doubt about that. They are hard and uncertain. However, God gives us the power of choice to act in loving ways, to take on the look of love which is the bedrock of satisfying relationships.
'Now abide these three things, Faith, Hope and Love, but the greatest of these is love.' (I Cor 13:13)
Seeking Life that is Truly Life,