“This commandment we have from Him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” (1 John 4:21)
I heard someone say yesterday, “with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about love” and that surprised me. Do some people only think about love on holidays or special occasions? When Jesus gave His commandment to love our brother, I don’t believe that was conditional upon only certain occasions. We are to love our brothers and sisters at all times. Rain or shine, good or bad times, even in the face of persecution ….
When you’re having a problem in any relationship, you can grab a number of various tools from your toolbox in an attempt to fix it. Perhaps one of the tools you’ve been in the habit of picking up is the hammer; that’s when you’re determined to put things back in place by whatever show of strength you feel is necessary. Another is the drill, intended to go sharply and directly to the heart of the matter. A less angry, more subtle tool is the chisel. By using it, you can slowly start chipping away at things, making small bits of progress, sometimes without the other person even realizing what you’re doing. Each of these tools has its proper place, function, and time. But there’s only one tool that’s suitable for every application: Love
I hear you. Some of you are thinking; “hey, that’s not a tool”…. And though it may not have a hammer/drill/chisel equivalent in the workshop — a familiar shape for you to pick up, feel, and immediately know how to use; love is no less a tool than any of the others. In fact, love is the most powerful tool for advancing God’s purposes in any given situation ….
Love is the way forward. It’s the way to gain traction, and the way to preserve any hope of having opportunity to work on the problem again tomorrow if it can’t be fixed today. Anything substituted for love puts the whole thing at risk ….
The multi-purpose possibilities of love make it the most important tool at your disposal. With love in hand, you’re able to:
Listen ~ Instead of demanding to be heard, making your case, and forming your comebacks mid-sentence, you can wait on the other person to say everything they need to say. “This is what I’m hearing you say” .. “Am I understanding you?”…. Yes, love helps you listen better …..
Give grace ~ If any difficult news or revelation comes out in conversation, grace can already be preloaded into your response. “I’m going to help you.”… “We’re going to trust that God has a new season for you.” …. Yes, love helps you give grace …..
Believe ~ “I believe that God isn’t finished with you yet” is one of the most life-giving things you can say to another person. “This may not be your best chapter, but it’s sure not the last.” ….. Yes, love helps you believe the best …..
Place limits ~ Love is not the same thing as being nice and sweet. It makes you strong enough to set boundaries, stay in reality, say the hard thing, and even run the risk of being misunderstood if what you’re doing is truly in the other’s best interest. Love “does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:6). Yes, love is most important because it helps you set healthy boundaries and limits …..
Sacrifice ~ Even when the road ahead is sure to be hard, costly, and not in the budget, you’ll find the resources somehow to help. You’ll make sure they’re taken care of at whatever expense to your own plans and agenda. Yes, love helps you make sacrifices …..
“Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:8).
If you’re ready to take a step forward with a relational problem that seems to be going backward, put love to work and leave all the other tools in the box. You just might be amazed at what God builds ….
In closing, I challenge you to say yes to love at all times, always being mindful of whom God places in your path that might just need a touch of love for that day. As it is written, it is the greatest blessing that you can ever give ….
“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of theses is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13).
Let us pray~
Lord, thank You for loving me like no other, day in and day out year round even when I disappoint You. Your faithfulness never fails. You alone are Master in knowing how to love in strong ways, tender ways, patient ways, and whatever ways are able to reawaken me to what is truly needed. I confess that sometimes I fail in loving others in this way or even loving others You would. Help me Lord to be less selfish in my relationships with others and to become more loving, more patient, and more tolerant. Help me to “follow the way of love” (1 Corinthians 14:1) and demonstrate Christ to all that you place in my path or my life. Help me and enable me to build faith, hope, reassurance and love back into my relationships by always aiming to love others unconditionally at all times. I humbly ask and pray in Jesus name, and for His glory, Amen …..