Perhaps the two most famous biblical passages on love are John 3:16 and 1 Corinthians 13. John 3:16 shows us the extent of God’s love for us, while 1 Corinthians 13 gives us the true and ideal path of love.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a, NIV).
Love and relationships are hard work and take time. A relationship is two imperfect people trying to build the perfect life together coupled with stresses and storms of life. If you have fallen short of what the Apostle Paul put forth concerning love, don’t fret or despair. Every one of us has fallen short, but while we live, we can work to improve the depth of our love and relationships.
In Romans chapter 12, the Apostle Paul show’s us the application of love regarding our relationships to God, ourselves, and those around us. (I will simply cite the idea of the verse, as opposed to listing long passages of Scripture).
Our Relationship with God
*We are to be living sacrifices for God (Romans 12:1).
*We are called to renew our minds and discover God’s will for our lives (Romans 12:2).
*We are called to serve God with a spiritual fervor while being examples of service, faithfulness and hospitality. (Romans 12:11-14).
Our Relationship with ourselves
*We must exercise humility (Romans 12:3; 12:16b).
*If someone does us wrong, we must not be consumed with revenge, for God will deal with them (Romans 12:17-20).
Our Relationships with others
*Recognize that we are all children of God, but we are not gifted in the same ways (Romans 12:4-8).
*Our love must be of sincere devotion, despising evil and esteeming others above ourselves (Romans 12:9-10).
*We are called to serve others during good times and bad times, no matter their position in life (Romans 12:15-16a).
*We are to overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21).
We can take away three keys to being a more loving and graceful person:
(1) Introspection. When we see how far we have fallen short, we can come to God’s grace and accept His everlasting love. Our response will become to share the love we have been given.
(2) We must change our “programming pattern.” Our thoughts, judgments, and perceptions are well within our control, but we allow ourselves to be influenced by the world’s negativity. Think of your mind as a computer. When we don’t change our thinking, we are allowing someone else to write our programming and operating system.
(3) We must become more empathetic to others. We must recognize that everyone, no matter how they live their life, their politics, their skin color, social status, or nationality, deserves to be loved. We must be willing, as the old saying goes, to put ourselves in their shoes and help them through this life.
We are called to love and serve others. The time has come for us to quit tearing each other down and begin the rebuilding process. God bless you all.