True love…real love is an amazing thing.
Many people are familiar with the passage of scripture that explains and defines what real love is and is not.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
Some might believe that this kind of love is rare or hard to maintain. I think that’s only true if you are trying to fake it. PRETENDING to show real love is VERY hard work. It goes against any logical response to the behavior (or misbehavior) of others. It’s kind of like being under a magnifying glass in the direct light of the sun. The heat of the moment will cause the facade of love to either melt away or catch fire, consume and destroy you. Either way the truth will come out that what was being shown wasn’t really love.
Real love has almost nothing to do with the people around you. It is a direct response to receiving God on a most deeply personal level. When you come to a place of intimately knowing God (not completely knowing, but intimately…there is a difference), and you recognize how truly He loves you, He somehow alters your DNA and you BECOME love as He IS love. It is at that point that loving others is no longer predicated on the ability of others to do or be anything FOR you. It becomes an organic extension of your nature to love, because God is in you.
I have had the tremendous fortune to see both sides of love. I have lived long enough to have people in my life that tried to love me (but did not truly know how) and people who genuinely did (and do) love me. I acknowledge that I have learned the difference in when I was merely trying to love as opposed to when I was actually loving. The effects of both have been astounding in their contrast. Using my own personal experience as a test pattern, I can say I have learned quite a bit.
The differences between attempts at love and actual loving are the difference between a pressure hose and a gentle rain. Both will get you clean, but the effects of the processes are painfully apparent. The power is in the force behind them. One is harsh, aggressive, even abrasive. The other goes virtually unnoticed until the change is evident. Both have the power to turn a mountain into a mudslide and break rock. In the instance of the power hose, everything happens so fast that it becomes destructive. The rocks are jagged and sharp, and you can see the shape of all that was lost under the covering of mud. There is a genuine need for a time of recovery in the wake of its destructive power. With the gentle rain, the flow of things is so easy and natural, the end result appears as if it had always been that way. You don’t know which rocks were actually broken from other rocks or what was under the mudslide in the first place. This natural process enables the environment upon which the rain fell to move forward as to never miss a beat.
I am discovering this more and more in the company of this wonderful man that loves me. Nothing about the pace of our relationship is pushed or forced…anymore, at least. I had come from the school of, “If you know what needs to be done, just go ahead and do it…NOW.” I was (and, at times, still am), very pushy and demanding about things I believed should have been done yesterday. His approach is, “If it’s supposed to be this way, it will happen. Relax. Let it happen. Stop trying to MAKE it happen.” These are the things about him that bring me to a deeper love in him and for him than I ever imagined possible. I am overwhelmed by the gentle outpouring of his love and care on a constant basis. He daily typifies God’s love for me.
God’s love is constraining without constricting, like in 2 Corinthians 5:14; it is pure and peaceable and easily entreated like in James 3:17; it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, like in 1 Corinthians 13:7.
I am learning to reflect that love to others as it is being shown to me. With God’s help, I will.