|How then should we love? (Bill Hunt c 2011)|
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Rules of Love
How should we love our spouse, our family, our acquaintances, indeed all mankind?
How then should we love? The 2nd Great Commandment expresses the rule of love for relationships. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” The Golden Rule, “Do to others as you would have them do to you,” pretty well gives us a concept on how this should function. However, 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 (NIV) gives us the details, the Rules of Love.
Love is patient. I will calmly wait and endure a situation even if it inconvenient, without complaining.
Love is kind. I will be considerate, warm, generous, sensitive, and understanding toward others. This is an expression of love suiting all relations in society with or without intimacy.
It does not envy. I will not be jealous of, nor covet another person's benefits, friends, or possessions. In fact, I will rejoice for his good fortune.
It does not boast. I will not brag or talk with pride about my accomplishments, performance, or other benefits. In fact, silence is best. Let others proclaim your deeds, my dad always said.
It is not proud. I will not consider myself with undo merit above others, nor express myself in such a way. I know my strengths are counterbalanced by my weaknesses. Of all things I do know or accomplish, there are far more I don't.
It is not rude. I will not consider or treat others with contempt or disdain. There is much hidden value in every person. Therefore, I will treat all others with respect.
It is not self-seeking. Every baby is born with a give-me attitude for survival. I realize the noble measure of adult maturity is rather giving, self-sacrificing, and promoting the benefit of others. “For in giving, we receive.”
It is not easily angered. Anger is an emotion of defense that can be justified or not. Expressing wrath in relationships can be devastating. In fact, the scripture calls it murder. In relationships, the advice to never let the sun set on your anger is best. Your relation needs peace, but so do you.
It keeps no record of wrongs. Forgiveness is the key to relationship. And forgiveness works if it is unconditional. It matters not one speck who is at fault or who offended first. The first one to heart-fully forgive wins! When one repents, God himself perfectly forgives and perfectly forgets. No one who fails to forgive can be admitted to eternal life.
Love does not delight in evil. Bless and do not curse. Never take the side of evil and sin. God can allow no evil or sin in his presence. The redeeming sacrifice of Jesus for us was the greatest act of love. “Never let the sin in others or the sin in yourself defeat you.”
But rejoices with the truth. God is Truth. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. God calls us to rejoice in all things. We can do this because he is the Beginning and End of all things. No other standard will stand before him. And Joy is such a key to successful relationship!
Paul summarizes the function of Love.
“It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
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