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Monday, October 6, 2008

True Love

Although the Bible was written to guide humanity’s relationship with God, so much of it actually addresses how we relate to each other. Why? Because God says to us through the Bible that “if you cannot love your brother whom you have seen, how can you love God whom you have not seen” (1 John 4:20). In other words, true love for God will be evidenced by our love for each other. Those who boast about their grand love for God and yet couldn’t care less about other people, deny their love for God.

The Corinthian Church, which Apostle Paul writes to, had this tendency. They tended to boast about their love for God and their spiritual gifts, even though they took each other to court and had many factions and fights within their congregation. So, Paul takes out his pen and papyrus and writes to them in order to define what true love looks like for Christians wanting to love God.

As you read Paul’s definition below, please reflect upon two questions and feel free to comment on these two questions: First, which part of the definition below represents the area in which you have experienced the most growth over the past few months or years? Second, which one of the components of the definition below represents the greatest challenge to your love for others? Simply put, which word/phrase describes your strength and which describes your weakness when it comes to loving others.

1 Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.

I encourage you to spend some time in prayer, thanking God for the area in which he has helped you love others better and asking Him for help in that area of love that continues to challenge and sometimes get the best of you.


Anonymous said...

Being totally honest and transparent about how we relate with others is a real challenge. Accountability can be a daunting thing!

For those I love the most, I do not always demonstrate patience and kindness that they deserve. My weakness when it comes to loving others has always been my short fuse with those closest to me. For those I’ve hurt, please forgive me. Although this is a shortcoming that I have grown up with, I have been praying feverishly to have Christ remove it from me! Please pray with me, that Christ fills me with patience and kindness!

My strength in loving others includes no longer being envious of others. I have become a very giving person since becoming close to Christ. I am no longer rude, self-seeking or keeping track of wrongs.

My major growth over the past few years has been letting people in! I no longer isolate myself with just a small group of friends, but love many brothers and sisters in Christ! My love for Christ has grown proportionately with my love for others!

Lenny Luchetti said...

Thanks for your honesty Brad. I would have to say that an area of weakness is "love is not self-seeking." Sometimes it's easier for me to love those who can and will return my love, or at least help me in some way to accomplih what I want to do. In other words, it's easy for love to turn into using people to benefit me in some way. Please pray for me to be totally selfless in my love for others, to be just as quick to love people who may not love me back as I am to love those who can benefit me in some way.

The area where I have grown is in the "love does not keep a record of wrongs" department. When people hurt me God has enabled me to get past it in order to give those people a clean slate with me. God has helped me not to write people off who have hurt me. God will not allow me to ignore or quit people. This is not to say that I have not wanted to, but I won't. I have recently heard of a pastor who told a parishioner who was asking for forgiveness for something she did to the pastor that he will "never forgive" her. I can't imagine ever saying that to anyone, especially after God has fogivene me for so much!


Anonymous said...

Iam in awe of God's love for me especially a verse in Jeremiah 31:3 I love that verse and when I think about that verse that God too loves me like he loved the Israelites its more than I could ever absorb in my finite mind. It makes me want to reach out to others in love also even more.

debbiebond said...

I would have to say my biggest struggle is anger and patience. I guess they really go hand in hand. If you have patience, the anger wouldn't come. I expect my children to act a certain way and when they don't, I get angry and then I loose my temper. IF I were more patient and allow them to be them, I wouldn't get angry.

The thing I have had overcome more and more is with keeping track of the wrongs. I no longer have that internal mental list of who said what and how it hurt me or offended me. Getting closer to God and longing for Him to be forgiving of my wrong doings and not keep track has helped me with relieving others of that.
It's a long process and alot of set backs at times.

Anonymous said...

My areas of weakness tend to be with patience and anger especially (and i can relate to Debbie on this one) with the kids. Ihave come a long way but it feels like I have ten thousand miles to go, at times. I also struggle with the "love always trusts" thing. I don't always trust, I tend to have my guard up there.
Throuhg the years the Lord has helped me to be less self seeking. He has done this by giveing me children and placeing friends in my life who expose me to a more global perspective of life. This perspective helps me to think beyond my needs and wants and to how I can give of my time, money, and resources to help others.
I am thankful that God continues to work in me despite of my weaknesses.

Anonymous said...

I want to say one more thing I read the main blog again and realized what I wrote was in my encouraging mode of blogging and not my sharing mode of blogging so this is my sharing mode. When it comes to loving others when people I Love hurt me I get upset and want to say forget you, but than God reminds me that he forgave me and i should also forgive them. It was a lesson I needed to learn, and still learning to love those who may not always love me in return. So onward in growing in the Lord.

Lenny Luchetti said...

Maria, Debbie and Erica, thanks for joining the discussion. It sounds as though having kids is one of the scalpels God uses to do surgery on our hearts and cultivate a deeper love for people in us. One of the greatest miracles God does, much more remarkable than turning water into wine, is transforming an unloving, self-absorbed, self-centered, short-tempered person into someone who loves all people selflessly and with passion. This, I think, describes Jesus quite accurately. And, as you'll agree, He is the one we aim to please and follow.

Trying to love better,