Love is a Choice…
Well, here I am again. The last few weeks, the stuff of life had me on a roller coaster ride. It was hectic. But here I am so thankful for the short Thanksgiving Day break. My husband and I take care of the grand kids. We take them back and forth to school, so when they get a break, we get a break. But being Monday, it’s back to reality. Anyway, the events, activities and such of the past few weeks reminded me of how important it is to express love, compassion, to be patient with one another, but more so about the notion of love. Such as, why is it easier to love some people and not others? Why is it we can accept love from one but not another. What is it about love that makes us do stupid things, and behave so atrociously. It’s difficult to process the loss of a loved one taken by some stranger. But when a loved one is taken from this earth by the one person that stood before family and friends and vowed to love, honor and cherish; when a child’s life ends tragically at the hands of those designed to love and protect them, that gave them life. Where is the love? What the heck is going on with mankind that we hurt and destroy the ones we claim to love? I have to wonder if people even know what it means to love someone.
I heard this song the other day. It reminded me of the mess we find ourselves in today. It’s an old tune-but timeless.
I can’t help but feel sorry for the children that are sacrificed because the idea of love and forever has lost all meaning. Kids can be demanding and when a relationship is under stress it can be rather difficult to parent. In most instances tensions run high. Word vomit projectiles at the intended target, and sometimes the most vulnerable get hit by shrapnel. Children tend to pay the highest price for their parent’s (married or not) happiness. So, in those tensed moments where is the love? Well… it kinda flew out the window.
What is love?
Love is a noun. It’s a verb. Love is a gut feeling.
At least, that’s how it was once described to me. You have to feel love for another in the gut. For me, love was always an action. Attraction and action. You do for the one you love. My mother, cooked and clean for the family. She made sure we had a clean place to sleep, clothes to wear, shoes on our feet, food on the table. She also had to be the provider. She was a single parent from the time I was about age 6. So she was also very conservative in relationships. Her love life, whatever there was of it, never took priority. Unlike today’s woman, she never needed time to herself.
We follow patterns in love.
I followed the same pattern in marriage and subsequent divorce. My husband was the provider. He took out the garbage, cut the grass, kept the cars running. I took care of the house, the children, cooked. I created a home. After my divorce, I continued to follow my mother’s example. But it was clear to me that I had no idea of what real love was. All I could identify was some of the characteristics.
Somethings we do differently.
One thing I chose to do different from my mother, was to always tell my daughters that I loved them. More than doing all I could for them, I wanted them to be secure in the knowledge of their mother’s love.
Love is a choice. Love is reciprocal, but it doesn’t to be, because love is a choice.
Growing up I wasn’t always sure that my mother loved me. But today I can be sure that my mother chose to love me. I didn’t know it because she told me, because I don’t recall her ever uttering those words. I knew it because of all she did for me. Even though as I was growing up – I did not appreciate it much. I was a wretched kid that didn’t always love her mother. A couple of times she told me she prayed for me in my rebellion. Later in life when I had to deal with people that could care less if I lived or died, I finally understood my mother. I felt helpless in trying to deal with people that only wanted to hurt me.
Wait until you have your own children.
When my daughter rebelled I begin to feel the heartache that my mother surely experienced. All I wanted to do was pray for my daughter. And I struggled and I prayed asking God to not allow me to return the hatred, or to become bitter and resentful. And the Lord honored that request. That’s grace.
Love is a choice. Believing in God and His Son, Jesus Christ is a choice. That is the pattern to follow.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
When Jesus was asked which was the great commandment, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
I tend to believe that today’s definition of love is totally out of whack. It’s manipulative. It’s selfish. We have taken the love of self, the love of money to a most tragic end. Daily sacrifices has taken on a most disturbing meaning.
Oh! What’s that refer to? The lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life.
We can be lead by everything carnal. And when feelings disappear – all that’s left is a void – a void that needs to be filled. When we turn to the carnality of man for affirmation, there’s a problem. As believers we can’t trust feelings to fill that void, especially if those feeling do not align with the word of God.
We are all defined by our many relationships, personal or business, good or bad, toxic or not.
As believer’s we should be love. That’s how the world knows we are children of God. If we can’t love there’s a problem. If we can’t trust there’s a problem. Is it easy to love? Not always. As humans we build walls for protection in the physical world. And in the heart and the mind we build walls to protect our emotions, our sense of self worth.
Having a relationship with the living God is how we learn what true love is. And knowing true love is how we learn to trust. And then…
You can trust God to lead you in the path of righteousness.
You can trust God to never leave you, nor forsake you.
You can trust God to strengthen you.
You can trust in the Lord with all your heart.
You can trust God that He will be exalted among the nations and the earth!”
You can trust God to be your shield.
You can trust God that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
You can trust that God is with you wherever you go.
You can trust God when He says, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.
You can trust God when He says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
You can trust God when He warns that “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. But that He came that you may have life and have it abundantly.”
You can trust Jesus when He tells you “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.
1 Peter 1:18-19 “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”
1 Peter 3:18 “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.”
Romans 4:25 “He was delivered over to death for our trespasses and was raised to life for our justification.”
Romans 5:8 “But God commended his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Finally, as Paul reminds us in 1 Thessalonians 5:15-22 …
“See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people.
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil.
From the mouth of the late-great Rich Mullins
I think, you know, the thing everybody really wants to know anyway is not what the theory of relativity is, but I think what we all really want to know anyways, is whether we’re loved or not. – Rich Mullins
I think a lot of American people are infatuated with God, but we don’t really love Him, and they don’t really let Him love them. Being loved by God is one of the most painful things in the world. It’s also the only thing that can bring us salvation. And it’s like everything else that is really wonderful, there’s a little bit of pain in it, little bit of hurt. – Rich Mullins
“Never forget what Jesus did for you. Never take lightly what it cost Him. And never assume that if it cost Him His very life, that it won’t also cost you yours.”
― Rich Mullins
“We do not find happiness by being assertive. We don’t find happiness by running over people because we see what we want and they are in the way of that happiness so we either abandon them or we smash them. The Scriptures don’t teach us to be assertive. The Scriptures teach us—and this is remarkable—the Scriptures teach us to be submissive. This is not a popular idea.” ― Rich Mullins
“Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:14-15