Love Does Not Demand Its Own Way

broken heart2
My heart is hurting, because I’ve been hearing an incredible amount of noise.
As a Christian, I am looking forward to celebrating Easter in a few days. You see, of all of the events of the year it is the most meaningful to me. This day is representative of one of the greatest acts of love known to mankind. Regardless of whether or not you believe in Christianity, it is a fact that Jesus died on a cross due to the message he preached. That message talked a lot about love, being a servant, and caring for others.
Recently, we have been struggling with one of our boys insisting on his own way. He will manipulate, cajole, and beg to have things go the way he wants them to. One of my dear friends shared with my moms’ group a few weeks back about how two of her children can be emphatic about having things their way. Whenever this occurs, she reminds them, “Love does not demand its own way.” We have been saying that a lot in our house lately…many gentle reminders. It is not easy to die to our selfish desires.
The phrase I use comes from 1 Corinthians 13. I want to share part of the passage with you:
1 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it, but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Hmmm….I don’t know about you, but it seems that some of us have forgotten how to love each other lately. For one example, right now the people in my state are arguing over the new RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act). I don’t care to debate the issue one way or the other on my blog. The bottom line is I despise the lack of kindness, patience, and general unloving comments and behavior I see all the way around. There is such a thing as human decency. At least I thought there was.
Awhile back a wrote a post called I Don’t Think I Want to Be Called a Christian Any More. This week would be one of those times based on some of the things I’ve heard.
There is a way to disagree civilly. I’ve seen it done. Can we discuss with one another? Can we ask questions? Can we listen? Can we seek to understand the perspective of others? Can we agree to disagree? Can we put ourselves in the shoes of others? Can we be kind, for goodness sake??
Try this:
1. Ask: Can you explain to me why…”
2. Ask: I wonder if you’ve thought about it this way…”
3. Watch your tone.
4. Regardless of your convictions, treat the other party with respect.
5. When you disagree with someone, remember they have the right to a different opinion.
These apply to any kind of disagreement, not just the one I mentioned.
As we get ready to celebrate a man who embodied the idea of love, let’s do our best to emulate him. According to the gospels, the entire Bible is based on two ideas: love God and love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.
Doing my best to love in the middle of the mess,
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