January 23, 2006
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, 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. [1Cor 13:4-7, NIV]
Each wedding is a day of hope. Hope stands on vows, solemnly made in front of all those we love and hold dear. And vows are secured with a promise…to love, honor and cherish, in good times and bad, in sickness and health, till death we do part.
Love is at the center of this most special day. A wedding album holds a history of promises made in pictures of love and perfection.
Pictures of love in the world abound. Our husband kisses us goodbye in the morning. A child climbs into our lap in the early morning hours. We get a birthday card from an old college friend. And huddled together on the beach, sharing hot chocolate, we watch the sun go down.
If love fails, it’s not for lack of knowing love when we see it.
If love fails, it must be for lack of committing ourselves to making it happen.
Love is patient. Has there been a moment today when someone has offended us by taking too long in the grocery line? Love has failed.
Love is kind. Did we speed up to cut off a car crowding in front of us on the freeway? Love has failed.
Love is not rude. Do we enjoy telling our friend how we chewed out the insurance agent on the phone because he forgot to file our claim? Love has failed.
Love keeps no record of wrongs. Yet, how many reasons can we recite for being mad at Aunt Linda? How many people will we tell? And how long will we hold to our promise to never speak to her again? Love has failed.
If love fails, it fails because we fail. In spite of the people who slow us down, the speeding cars on the freeway, the forgetful insurance agents and the crazy family members we have to suffer…love fails because we fail to love.
The greatest misunderstanding of love in the modern world is our tendency to equate love with warm and cuddly feelings. Perhaps mass marketing has added to the problem. We have come to expect love to look like a Hallmark commercial, complete with soft music and sentimental tears.
But love is more than a pretty picture. And love is more than a feeling.
Love…”is an action, an activity… Love is not a feeling,” wrote M. Scott Peck in The Road Less Traveled. Describing love in detail, Peck taught, “True love is not a feeling by which we are overwhelmed. It is a committed, thoughtful decision.”
Published in 1978, his book sold over six million copies in North America alone and was translated into over 20 languages. The 25th Anniversary Edition was released in 2003. First described as a “new psychology of love, traditional values and spiritual growth,” it broke with the sentimentality of the 60s. “Love is as love does,” Peck wrote. “Love, then, is a form of work or a form of courage.”
The Road Less Traveled certainly tapped into the need of Americans to re-evaluate their values and relationships. But its message was hardly a “new psychology of love.”
But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? [Mat 5:44-46, NIV]
If loving our neighbor is easy, then we haven’t stretched far enough. In truth, love fails because we’re not up to the work of love.
But this is 2006. And if we are dedicated to love, we are dedicated to work. So here it is. A job. An assignment.
Who in your life is impossible to love? And if it’s impossible, the good news…the great news… is that you have the power at hand to change the world, to make the impossible…possible. You are only one decision away from love.
This week. One decision. Just one decision and one act of love to change the world. Are we up to it?
Love is a learned phenomenon….if you don’t like where you’re at in terms of love, you can change it. — Leo Buscaglia
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.
January 9, 2006 – To Know Love When We See Love, Part 1
September 12, 2005 – Kiss, Kiss, I Love You
See Archives for more past editorials.