BUT LOVE…. | A Dimension of Love!

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In my family, say “but love” and we’d sigh at the remembrance of an unbroken record of the most boring movie we ever watched titled “But Love”. That word in our home simply means ” boring movie!” Maybe the movie would make sense now if I watch it with understanding. However, it is different with this article. I have a few things to share with us on love. Let’s start from the Bible
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“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV)
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Love is patient and kind. These virtues are attributes of love. That is to say, love can’t exist void of them. Enduring for few more days and then giving up finally isn’t patient or at least love’s patience. Caring for people today and suddenly giving up just because they wronged us isn’t love’s kindness. I don’t know if I should say there are other patience that isn’t love but the only patience I know is that of love. I needn’t quote lots of scriptures to prove this but if God is love, we can learn what love is from the character of love. Love is one of the characters of God and in fact that is where other characters revolve! In the same way, patience and kindness are great attributes of love.
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There is something about love I’d like to bring to your notice. Love isn’t something you do because of what you feel like, it is who you become by the virtue of decision. There is how to love, you don’t just start loving out of ignorance! A lot of people think maybe because they’re caring and generous, they’d be awarded as good lovers. No, love begins from the motive, self is dead to love. The verse we read says that love isn’t self seeking, it is concerned about others and not about self. Love derives it’s fulfillment and pleasure from others and not from self. A man whose motive is full of lust over a woman would obviously show generosity to that woman but his goal is to have his way in her. We can buy chicken for Christmas and keep feeding the chicken not because we are really very caring to the chicken but because we want it to get fatter for our own pleasure.
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The Bible never said we should love our neighbor after we have loved ourselves, that’s not the gospel. A lot of people want to force that meaning out of the Bible but we must always understand the context. What the Bible says is “love your neighbor in the same manner you love yourself”, we love ourselves without reserve, we don’t need any teaching on how to love ourselves because naturally we just love ourselves! If you aren’t on your way to committing suicide, you don’t hate yourself. When you go to market to get something for yourself you look for the best. Even if you wanted to commit suicide but decided to look for reasons why you shouldn’t, you definitely love yourself. My younger brother usually polish my dad’s shoes every morning and sometimes dad would complain “see how you took time to polish your own shoes, they’re very shiny! But look at mine? You didn’t take same time to do it…” and my younger brother would murmur in response “what do you expect? They’re my shoes!”
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I’d like to bring it from another perspective about loving as we love ourselves. The Bible didn’t say we should do unto others the same thing we do to ourselves, the Bible didn’t say we should hate others if we want to hate ourselves, the Bible didn’t say we should look down on others if we want to look down on ourselves. The Bible says we should treat others exactly the same way we should have them treat us (Matthew 7:12). No matter how much you don’t like yourself, you’ll never want anyone to treat you badly. Be sincere to people just the same way you’re sincere to yourself!
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The only thing the Bible said about the way we act unto others is to love them the same way we have or would have loved ourselves. It’s okay if you want to go on hating yourself, but don’t put that hate on others. The bible didn’t say you owe yourself love, the bible says you owe others love. I am not saying you shouldn’t love yourself but loving or hating yourself isn’t a determining factor if you should love others. A little love is not love, love pours out all of it. Forgiving that mistake today and bringing up the matter tomorrow because they wronged you again isn’t love, love doesn’t just forgive, love forgets! True forgiveness goes hand in hand with forgetfulness.
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Before, I used to believe that one shouldn’t get a bottle of yoghurt for others when they could only get a bottle of water for themselves. But it was a subtle wrong perception of love because lovers goes out of their own way just to put others first. Maybe I’ve just got the right words now to explain it! We don’t put ourselves first, we put others first, that is love! The bible says in John 3:16 that God so loved the world that something happened! Let me give you my own version of John 3:16 “for God so love the world, that He went out of His own way and gave Himself for the world! That whosoever believes in Him, reaches out to receive His salvation which is His own life, which He had already given and will never ever perish!” Look at that, God didn’t consider Himself in expressing His love for man. When Jesus cried concerning His suffering saying “if only this cup can pass over me… But let your will be done.” (Matthew 26:39) While it got so much at Him that it would have been normal to give up, it wasn’t His will to give up!
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I started by saying patience and kindness are attributes of love. Love is patient with people the same way God was so patient with the world. While Jesus was passing through pains for man, they were mocking Him further but He went ahead to say “forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:24) That is patience! Stephen happened to know this, when he was been executed publicly, he said the same thing, using the same words of Jesus. Stephen wasn’t considering himself (Act 7:60).
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I had to take time to explain how we ought to truly love because it goes a long way to help us understand why we must be patient and kind with people. Regardless of what people had done, no matter how much we had given people time to change, we must be patient with them. Love is something you decide to become and not something you guess you are just because you care. You could still care from the point of selfish reasons. Love is intentional. Paul said a lot of things about love, he said he would give and even give himself up to be burned for the sake of something but it’s nothing without love (1 Corinthians 13:3). Jesus didn’t just died for us for dying sake, He loved us and died for the sake of love! We can’t equate it with suicide bombers who die for a cause but with selfish motives! There is no suicide bomber who died for love because if it was love, he would be patient and kind with whoever it is as long as forever!
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The bible says while we were sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5:8) but suicide bombers especially from the religious extremism would say “if they don’t subscribe to what you believe die against them!” From every point of the life of Jesus, we see love in it’s purest form! He is patient with all men that even after dying for the world He remains patient therefore giving us enough time to really realize how much we need Him. The Bible says that God’s mercy endures forever (Psalm 136). If it is this same love of God that has been poured into our hearts (Romans 5:5), it must have the same quality with God’s love! It shouldn’t endure to tomorrow or till people wrong us again, it endures forever! Forever is forever!
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On an ending note, love is not how we feel, it is intentional and it takes effort to love! It is what you decide to do, not something that pops up without your consent. If Paul by the Holy Spirit took time to explain what love is and how we should love, it means it is our own duty to love because by doing so we are showing the world who God is. The Bible says in John 13:35 that when we love ourselves the world will know we are His! There is no other way to express God more than love. If it wasn’t in our ability to love, Jesus wouldn’t have asked us to love! He would have said we don’t have to worry trying to love that it would happen automatic! No, just as we decide to do good unto others it is the same way we decide to love! By the way, which other way can we do good if not to love?
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Blessings!
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#GracefulGeorge

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