Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Irony About Love

Have you ever had deja vu?  Or perhaps had a conversation on the same main topic a couple different times with different people and in those cases you were not the initiator of the conversation?  Well, that has been the case for me this past week, especially in the past few days. I have heard a time or two where the Lord will give you direction through other people, now I am a firm believer in it.  The topic, you ask?  Simply, loving other people.  Before you misunderstand, it isn't that mushy love that couples have, it is that general love that one should have for their fellow man.

You see, and I am just going to throw this out there, I have a really hard time loving other people.  Some see this as me being mean, pretentious, arrogant, strong-willed, and any other word that describes a person who isn't soft around the edges.  However, it isn't that I don't have the capacity, it is that I simply don't trust people and loving has a lot to do with trusting.  Why don't I trust people?  Well, I don't like my feelings being hurt and by not having them the problem is solved.  Or, so I thought. 

You see, regardless of what you do to protect yourself, perception is not always on your side.  People don't see the lack of "love" as a positive trait.  No, quite the opposite in fact, they see it as, well, meanness and in all manners if the word. Now, that said, this is the conversation that I had or the subject matter that I was a part of in seemingly unrelated circumstances a couple of times this week.  I think I may have learned something!  No, actually, I did.  I learned that God doesn't like to see His children suffer and He knows when walls are built there is suffering on both sides of them (the walls that is).  I want to share with you the notes I took today at church during the Pastor's message.

"The Prayer of Love" -Philippians 1:9-11

  1.  O God, give me DESIRE. (v9)
    1. that the love in their lives would abound more and more
    2. agappe love - a God-like love (a giving love)
    3. don't run between being stingy and lavish with your love
    4. we understand more when it comes to tangible goods and giving - we need to incorporate this thinking with love.
    5. our attitude and our acts prove our amount of love
    6. Having love will change your life. 
    7. Love one another - BECOME A PEOPLE PERSON
  2.  O God, give me DIRECTION (v10)
    1. love appropriately (discernment)
    2. not always sentimental gush
    3. the best way to love is to ask these questions:
      1. Is it harmful?
        1. Will what I am about to do, be or become harmful to another; mentally, physically, and/or spiritually?  MUST think of it ALL!
      2. Is it helpful?
        1. Will my actions and my advice be a positive thing; be inspirational, encouraging, and uplifting to another?  AIM for ALL!
    4. it isn't about you, it is about the other person
    6. Keep this poem in mind:  LOVE:
      1. It's silence when your words would hurt.  It's patience when your neighbor's curt. It's deafness when the scandal flows. It's thoughtfulness for another's woes.  It's promptness when stern duty calls.  It's courage when misfortune falls.
  3.  O God, give me DEPTH (v11)
    1. God does work in the believer's heart
    2. Fruit should be seen in the person's life
    3. If you are just conforming to the law then you are shallow.
    4. Are we deep enough in this love of God that we are seeing the right kind of fruit manifested in our life?
    5. If the Holy Spirit is in our heart then love will be our fruit.
    7. We love Jesus Christ only as much as the person we love the least!!!!!!
    8. We have a choice on where we put our roots.  A spiritual landfill or Jesus Christ!
This message spoke volumes to me.  I have a long, long, road to travel to get to the place where my love for others is a desire, my direction, and has depth, but I have a fantastic travel agent and I know he is great with all sorts of weary travelers.  I want to leave you with one last thought for the day.  The Pastor shared this quote from a book he read:

"My prayer for you is that your love for one another will never be doled out in parsimonious pinches, but rather tumble forth like some magnificent cascade."  - Dr. Paul S. Rees

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