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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Love Isn't Stuck on Itself

The flight attendants were giving instructions as the plane backed away from the jetway. No one was listening. "Boy," I thought, "am I glad I don't have their jobs." How would you like to go through a routine several times a day with no one listening to a word that is said?

A man and woman began a conversation behind me. It was obvious that they had never met before. At first, they talked about their kids. Eventually, the man began telling how good he was at public speaking. He told what a good athlete he was. He told of his abilities to coach. I thought to myself, "Why does he want to impress this woman? He doesn't know her."

She was listening. (I really expected her to throw up any minute!) He bragged more as she was politely interested. It's strange that he and she didn't know what was happening. He was trying to win her heart. He was talking with her and she was admiring him. This is a dangerous situation.

They parted when the flight ended and went their separate ways. Neither of them had overtly wanted a relationship. Their actions could have led them down a terrible path but their circumstances didn't support it. They were safe.

Men often brag to women to win their hearts. Women often listen to them which makes the men feel admired. Why would a woman think that a man loves her if he is stuck on himself? Yet, she does and marries him. The disappointment comes when he is still stuck on himself after the wedding. He still acts selfishly with smatterings of gifts and acts of service. He does the latter just to keep some peace. She gets the short end of the stick and is surprised. She doesn't know that love doesn't brag.

Love doesn't make you think little of yourself either. Love merely doesn't cause you to think of yourself at all. Love concentrates on others. 

Most people who boast don't realize they are doing so. They brag to justify their faults. They brag to get attention. They brag to be admired. None of these things are accomplished through their boasting. Bragging just won't give you the upper hand.

In Good to Great Jim Collins talks of level five leaders who think of themselves as lucky. They don't attribute their successes to their great leadership but to those with whom they have worked. I suspect that these leaders also love those whom they work with if they are giving them credit for the success. I suspect these workers also loved their leaders back. Its amazing how hard people will work for you when they love you.

"Look what I can do, Daddy," the little boy exclaims as he does a somersault. Dad puts down the paper to give his full attention to his son. Love puts down the paper, takes away from what you would like to do, turns your attention away from yourself and focuses on others.

Do you think that God also loves us like that?

1 Corinthians 13:4 (NIV)
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

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