Love is a general word and a popular one as well. We may well believe that it is a word that is found in all languages because all men know the concept of love. Is love an instinct? Is it a primary impulse? If it is, then why is it that we sometimes come across people who do not know how to love? If it is a universal character trait, why are some people able to do the most unloving things?
We know that God is love. Love is who He is. He is not just loving, He is love itself. Man being imperfect as he is falls short in the understanding, practice, and experience of true love. In this world, we will suffer from heartaches. In this world, we will cause heartaches. But the one who has come to a saving knowledge and relationship with God thru Jesus Christ now has enablement to understand and practice true love.
A genuine relationship with the God of love begins healing. With the Holy Spirit working in us and blessing us with guidance, hurts heal and enlightenment comes in. We get over our love-hurts. We are liberated from the consequences of wrong love or abuse. God who is love restores us to wholeness. No longer do we need to imitate the wrong ways our parents loved us; we can start loving our children right. No longer do we need to carry out a self-serving love relationship with a partner or spouse; we can nurture a true, loving relationship with someone today. No longer do we need to settle for flawed and unhealthy love; we can break free and let loose because God our maker is our completer. (Isaiah 54:5) We may enjoy the single life because we are never alone and we will never be unwanted nor unloved.
Scriptures discuss in 1 John 4 that God is love. Anyone who knows God knows how to love because love is of God and He is love. Since we have the God of love as our Father, Friend, and Guide, we can walk in right, balanced love. This is made possible because as we now experience the love of God, we gain understanding on what it means to truly love. From knowing comes doing.
1 Corinthians 13 gives a good guideline on the right ways to love. But here are a couple of things we can highlight about right love:
Right love is always assuring but never consenting of wrongdoing.
It deals with the wrongs but in a loving way. It helps to set people aright by rebuking them with grace and gentleness.
Right love is liberating and unrestricting.
Flawed love has the idea of wanting someone all to oneself but right love is liberating. Knowing that our loving God is over us, we have peace to set our spouse and children free to become the best they can be and to pursue their God-driven purposes in life. We release them from our own desires and goals and allow them to discover what life has for them. We fear not and trust God’s watchful care over their spirit and ways.
Right love forgives, builds trust and security.
Jealousy, suspicion, distrust, and insecurity- these result from wrong practices of love. When relationships fail us, these are part of the baggage that we take with us. These carry on into future relationships. Even when we choose to remain, these negative emotions hang around and cause our relationships to become even more unfruitful. But, right love forgives. With grace at work, people can start on a clean slate. Hurt lingers but healing comes. Trust is broken but it is rebuilt. Love and desire is repelled but it is welcomed once more. Self-esteem is lost but it is found once more.
Right love is balanced love.
At times, you put your best heart and effort into something but things don’t work out. There are times when staying in a relationship or friendship becomes more unhealthy or even unsafe. Right love is balanced. It is patient to keep working and sensible when it is time to let go. To love is to bring out the highest good in another. If maintaining connections is no longer good nor helpful, have the peace and courage to remove yourself from the environment. Doors may be reopened in the future so stay hopeful. But at the moment, step back and let God work things out for you and for the other person individually.