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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Real Love

Hollywood produces a lot of movies they try to sell as love stories. I don't like most of them because very few of them have anything to do with love. They are all about sexual attraction, manipulation and pleasure but they do not get to the root of what real love is all about. They rarely show two people who are so devoted to each other through years of marriage. They rarely show two people who's supposed love is not centered around sex. In fact, most of the scenes have to do with passion rather than love. I was raised on a farm. Hollywood's love looks more like animal instinct than true love.

Love is a decision. It is something you decide to do with a commitment. The commitment makes the love last because the passion may or may not be there in the moment. The commitment keeps the person faithful when sin presents itself as an opportunity. The commitment calls for sacrifice rather than what feels good. The commitment is intended to last. The failure in love is not a failure in emotional feelings. It is a failure in commitment to love.

I know love. My wife and I have been married for over thirty-seven years. I told her this morning that I loved her more than life. I did this before I realized the scripture I would be reading for my daily time with God. I meant it. I felt it. I am committed to it. How committed am I?

I look at the love chapter in the Bible and measure my love against it. This is the general love that we should have for each person but sometimes it is easier to love the person across the street than the person you live with. The chapter becomes a real test of my love for my wife as well as for anyone else.

Am I patient? Am I kind? Am I jealous of what she has or does? Am I acting arrogantly in front of her? Do I put her down? Am I treating her with honor? Do I forgive and never mention it again? Do I praise and rejoice with her when she follows the Lord? Am I committed though she may treat me wrongly?  Do I believe in her as doing the loving thing rather than supposing she is acting unloving?

I often read these verses at weddings. I don't think that most couples realize what they say. Maybe they think that love is how Hollywood presents it. Hollywood almost never tells the story of a couple who grow old together. They don't tell of the sacrifices and faithfulness. They stir in the conflict and unfaithfulness and make people believe that this is what can be expected. They don't let us see a love that is so strong because of the commitment to love.

One of the gentlemen in my church has a wife with dementia. She doesn't remember him anymore. He continues to take care of her. He has put locks on the inside of the house so that she can't wander off. She can no longer put a whole sentence together. Many people have told him that he needs to put her in a memory unit of nursing home facility. His response was that he promised to love her as long as he was alive. He doesn't feel like that commitment has changed because of the circumstances. I am sure it hurts to watch her deteriorate. I know that it is real love.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (ESV)
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.

1 comment:

Anthony Chia said...

Indeed love is a choice, a decision, and a decision with commitment; and when it has been a decision made with commitment, it is prepared to embrace sacrifices.

It is a thumb up for that gentleman of your church; it surely is not easy to love one with dementia.

I remember the time (many years ago) my father was stricken with pancreatic cancer, one of the fiercest cancers. So soon, his condition deteriorated and when the doctor felt that it was best for him to spend his remaining days at home rather than at the hospital, we took him home. But it was so difficult, for he was frequently in pain, it was so very difficult for us for we did not know how to attend to him. We were given morphine to give to him, but he was still groaning in pain so very often when the dosage recommended was already given. We, his children, could not decide if we ought to just give him more, to lessen his suffering. Eventually we put him at a hospice where he could be tended to, properly. It was NOT that we love him NOT, but in love, we did the best for him, and best then was that he be cared for, at the hospice (this is NOT intended as a suggestion to the gentleman).

The gentleman's case is a good example of love, yet I do find that parents who still chose to give birth to "abnormal" baby, when they already knew the condition of baby when the baby was still in the womb, and then proceeded to bring up the child, they show us what real love is. They made a choice to love, even before the baby is born. They made a choice with commitment, to love the child, and they stick to the choice and commitment they made. And so, regardless, they continue to love the child as he/she grows. I am sure it is most tiring and sacrificial, to love such kids, yet their parents continue on.

Back to marriage, it is supposed to be the same or along the same line; it was supposed to be "till death do we part", that is what that gentleman you referred to, and even yourself are telling yourself. The partners made a choice to wed to live a shared life and to raise a family together, yet it so common now that people can so easily go back on that choice and commitment they made as a vow to each other in marriage. When a marriage breaks down, and the parents divorce, the children will be impacted. When children did NOT grow up in a setting of real love, the chance of them, sliding into divorce scenario themselves increase. One generation of failure can impact the next, and then, the next, impacts the next. What then we see, is the divorce rate climbing over time.

A love that is NOT prepared to sacrifice can hardly to be called love! Jesus stressed the sacrificial element so much when he said this, in John 15:13 - "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends."

Another aspect, I stress a lot, is also found in the text used in the blog entry; 1 Cor 13:6 - "Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth." God's kinda of love is like that - it is love unto righteousness. In fact, when we embrace and practise that love of God, it is NOT only we delight NOT, in evil, it is we cannot have any evil element in our love, and we are to love people unto righteousness, too. Our love should only promote righteousness, and so, truth. Is a father really loving his son if he condones his son's evil ways? So, watch how we love!

Anthony Chia, high.expressions