As part of a class assignment I was asked to write a paper on "A Love Worth Giving" by Max Lucado and how it's impacted me personally. Below is the paper I will turn in. I plan on writing another Blog that will go into deeper detail as to how it has changed my view on what love really looks like to me, but for class I was supposed to limit the paper to 300 words ~ That was impossible to do and I have so much more to share.
When I began reading this book I had no idea what to expect. Even reading the first few pages of chapter one I didn’t know how it would or how I could apply it to my life. I thought I knew what “love” was and I guess to a certain degree I did, at least from the viewpoint of society, from what I was taught from my parents and all my other relationships. I could even possibly make excuses when we I was ridiculed, degraded, made feel less than by saying, “Well, that is the way they show they care for me. That is how they show their love.”
After reading this book, I’ve come to the conclusion that the only excuse we can offer is that, they themselves can’t give what they have never received. In order to love, we have to first have love deposited into our lives. Receive first, love second. As I went through each chapter and read what each part of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 truly means, I reflected on my life, and how each act of love was missing from my life, and what I could do to correct it going forward.
"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. Love never fails."
This book has given me the tools of what it means to love, how to love and examples of what it looks like. I’ve learned I need patience with others by not making a judgments on a behavior or circumstance until I’ve taken it all in and listened and have a heart of understanding. In patience, I become kind. Giving allowances for my and others shortfalls I show kindness. It’s taught me how to let go of envy and comparison. I must allow God to fill me with his love and remove my desire to rely on fulfillment by others. Filled with Gods love, I’m reminded what God has given me, and it’s only because of His will, not mine. As I accept this in total humility, I see past myself and see others for the beauty they possess. I learn how to respect who they are and treat them in a respectful manner, without rudeness. As I remove envy and rudeness I learn to love in a non self-seeking manner. I look toward them and keep eyes off me and my desire turns to do what benefits others.
Jesus who was perfect in loving others was repeatedly rejected and ridiculed but we didn’t often see him angered. And when he was angered, he did not sin. I will seek Christ in my times of rejection. I will seek his acceptance to diffuse my flame of anger. His love, grace and forgiveness teaches me to keep no records of wrong. He does not track my shortcomings, instead covers them with His grace. I choose to do the same toward those who have hurt me in my past and who will in my future.
More than anything I want to point people to Christ because of what I have experienced in his presence. In my past I’ve done things to drag others down. If I’m not uplifting, encouraging with truth and love, I’m not loving others. I think at times when I brought others down I was trying to play God and conform them because I didn’t like certain parts of them, a habit, personality trait, the way they dressed or spoke. Love accepts the whole package - flaws included, just as God accepts me wholly. When we have difficulties accepting the whole package, it’s easy to point it out to others by gossiping or in other harmful ways. Today I try to protect others from being torn down, and often find that the best way to do this is through silence and not engaging in the gossip. If I don’t have anything encouraging or uplifting to say I keep my mouth shut. God uplifts us when we need it, he gives hope and encouragement and I choose that path.
In protecting others, we say we believe in them. We may not like their habits, they may not be the most moral person, but believing in change within them can be powerful. Giving hope to others can break down walls that once seemed unbreakable. Our endurance to love others, not giving up on them, even when we are exhausted or in our own hopelessness can be encouraging and affirms we loved them enough to never give up on them.
Those we love will fall short but, one thing we can can have certainty in is that - Love Will Never Fail in Christ. If we cling to his love, fill ourselves with Jesus, when those moments of hurt, disappointment and pain enter our lives, in Christ we will rise because LOVE NEVER FAILS.