Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Love is Strong

"...or rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful" (1 Corinthians 13:5).

Love.  It is something we all long for, believe in, have been changed by, and hope to live by.  There are movies that are classified as romantic comedies, novels that have been penned as romance, and late night radio music shows that have been stamped with the title of "love songs."  However, the strength of love and its effects are not found in movies, manuscripts, or melodies.  It is found in our ability to recognize love not as a result of strength, but as a strength. 

This verse is a snapshot glimpse of the definition of not just "what" love is, but also "who" love is.  1 John 4 reminds us that "God is love."  If God is love, then anywhere that the Bible speaks of love in a positive light also refers to God.  Love is more than emotional "warm and fuzzies."  It is more than a pit that one "falls into."  It is not something that is to be based on another human being that bares the same imperfections and inconsistencies that we do.  It is both a choice and an action lived out in everyday life.  It surpasses our emotions.  Love is not controlled by our emotions, but is in control over our emotions.

Rudeness is epidemic.  It comes naturally.  It is based on an emotion.  It is a result of not getting our way.  It is a defense and attack mechanism that seeks to make it known that we are NOT happy.  Love is not rude.  Rudeness is not love.  Rudeness and irritability are emotions and effects that we all deal with, but do not have to determine the decisions that we make in our relationships with each other.

We can all be rude.  We have all have a tendency to insist our own way.  We can all be irritable, and at times, hold on to things that foster that emotion.  Be reminded that this is not love.  Today, ask God to help you to monitor every word out of your mouth and every attitude that you portray.  Depend on Him for the strength to resist, refuse, and refute anything to come from you that would be marked by the label of "rude."  If you find yourself irritable, deal with.  If you need to confront someone, do so, but do it in love.  Don't allow rudeness to justify your irritability.  Love is a strength that showcases a power greater than that of our will, our words, or our own ways.  Choose to practice patience and deference, and realize that most things we battle over are really not "worth the fight."  Remember this: it was the love of Jesus that led Him through the greatest pain that granted us the greatest gain.

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