by Miss Mo
It’s 1:00pm on a Tuesday; I’m bored at the office thinking “when do I get to go home.” Suddenly, my phone buzzes me out of my daydream. It’s a panic message from a friend saying she has started something she can’t finish; I call her immediately to find out what’s going on. She narrates how she started a fight with her husband regarding some of their past issues and it didn’t elicit the response she expected as her husband also brought up her past mistakes and the whole thing became a mess she could not control. So while I was comforting her and trying to advise her, I thought…..is this, what love is supposed to be?
What comes to mind first when you speak of love is 1 Corinthians 13:4-13, the “cliché” scripture. Yes, love is all these things and more. The challenge though, is that we have become so intertwined with the world that the love we proclaim is now based on the fact that someone brings us pleasure or pain and in return we reciprocate with love or fear. If he makes me happy, I love him, but the day he upsets or hurts me, well then I retreat. To understand love better, let’s take a look at God’s love.
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person-though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die- but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:7-8 ESV)
Now, this is love. The kind that loves every part of a person regardless of how they make you feel, how they hurt you, embarrass or berate you. Don’t get the love of God wrong, it is not without wisdom or discrimination so to speak. It is not wise to stay in an abusive marriage because you are aspiring to be like Christ in loving but wisdom comes in dealing with that person as Christ would deal with them in love. Perhaps relocating temporarily while the individual sorts out their issues. Let’s look further to see how God doles out His love for us all:
1. General – He loves us all and commands us to love all men (Romans 5:7-8/Romans 13:8)
2. Hierarchy – So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith (Gal 6:10)
3. Performance – The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear Him, and He makes known to them His covenant (Psa 25:14).
This shows us that while God loves everyone, He uses hierarchy and performance to appropriate His love for us all. With hierarchy, He commands a special love for those of the household of faith. So if there is a conflict in who to help between those of the household of faith and an unbeliever, we know where our loyalty lies.
With performance, it has to do with our response to His love, for us to become His friend; we need to fear Him by walking in His commandments. God had soft spots for Abraham and David because they feared Him. Their response to God’s love for them made God fond of them.
If you are not married to someone and they do not appreciate your love, you need to apply wisdom and not hate them or react in fear but rather, love them how God would love them.
And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9 ESV).
Our love is a resource from God and we must be careful not waste it. Everything God has given us, we will be accountable for and so we must learn how to appropriate it.
However in certain relationships like marriage and parenting, where you have made vows, you need the general love of God, which is “partially blind” – not blind because God expects us to aspire from the general love to performance type love. The kind of love where you concern yourself only with how you treat your partner, not how they respond to you. In other words, mind you own business not theirs. It’s a difficult task because by nature we are selfish and are geared towards self-preservation. That said, if truly you are a child of God and are aspiring to do better for God and for your spouse, with action and prayers, God would grant you grace.
Back to the aforementioned lady, by the next day, she said she apologized and her husband was still determined to fight and she would just leave him and they would both brood. I told her not to give in to any fight that the Grace of God would grant her the ability to love not based on how he treats her but just because she loves God and she loves her husband. These are the instances where love needs to be “partially blind”.
Bottom line: When it comes to love; we need to mind our own business which is basically learning how to appropriate our love resource (whether general, hierarchical or performance based), in a godly manner and not minding how others appropriate their love to us. Every time you are tempted to react emotionally to hurt, ask yourself, am I minding my business? If you are then leave it to God, if not, better get to minding yours.