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The True Meaning (and Hard Work) of Love

by Steve Wickham

posted in Relationships

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LOVE seems such a confused concept in this 'love is love' age. Love is only love when we understand that love joins emotion with action. Love that is emotion without action is merely infatuation. This is not to cast aspersions on the love enjoyed by two consensual adults, where there is the assumption of love giving itself for the other. But a love that only expects is not love.
There is the realm of love far more veritable than romance. Beyond romantic, however, relationships the very same principle applies.
It's not about me. It's not about you. It's about the other person. If we cannot get beyond ourselves we cannot love, and, in that, we do not live the life of Christ.
It's about response.
LOVE IS ABOUT RESPONSE
It's not about how we feel at the offense given to us, but it is about the grace-configured response we give.
If you hate being excluded,
Care for others by including them.
If you hate being talked about,
Care for others by refusing to talk about them.
If you hate being disrespected,
Care for others by offering unconditional respect.
If you hate it when people don't trust you,
Care for others by trusting them.
If you hate being not listened to,
Care for others by listening to them.
God honours our responses of advocacy. God instructs us to turn the injustices we suffer into love through becoming an advocate for others. Advocacy is how we avoid bitterness. We turn the injustices meted out to us, inwardly, outwardly through advocacy for others' needs.
When we lack, God is showing us where others lack too. He is showing us how to love them through what we lack. We get to feel how others feel so we can give them empathy, and by giving them empathy, God gives us the empathy we need through how others are blessed by our giving of empathy to them.
God's love is real when we love others with His love.
And the same can be said for what we experience when we make ourselves nothing so that someone who is feeling worthless can feel something of worth coming in. We don't do it out of our neediness - quite the opposite - we do it out of strength that can come only from love.
***
Love is real when we love others with a love that works for them.
Love makes space for the needy to enter in, to dwell, and to be satisfied, on their own terms.
Love is not satisfied to be just a feeling. It works hard and wants the best for the other person.
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.
About the Author: Steve Wickham is a Baptist pastor who holds Degrees in Science, Divinity, and Counselling. Steve writes at: http://epitemnein-epitomic.blogspot.com.au/ and http://tribework.blogspot.com.au/
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