I have been thinking quite a bit about relationships.
The number of books in your local book store on learning to love well are astounding. You can find instruction on how to love your spouse better, your dog better and your kids better. You can find info on how to love your mother-in-law more and get along with the hard-to-get-along-with people in your life. Not only are bookstores filled with helps on how to love well, but the Internet, television and magazines all provide “insight” on becoming a love guru.
So why is there so much info out there on learning to love well? Because no one has mastered the art of loving well—except Jesus.
Because Christ is God, He loves perfectly. So. . . when we learn to give and receive love from Him, we can love others well. Here’s how receiving and believing in God’s love for you will help you love well without spending a lot of dough on books.
If love is like a motor, then fear of criticism is like a big wad of bubble gum that gets stuck in that motor so it won’t run.
When you accept the reality of God’s love for you, you will no longer fear others’ opinions. Therefore, you’ll be able to focus on the object of your love instead of on yourself. God’s love will create a new sense of security and confidence in you.
Don’t get me wrong. No one feels secure all the time. I can’t think of one person who hasn’t feared criticism one time or another. However, it is possible to live a life that is generally characterized by freedom from the fear of criticism so that loving others well and in transparency is standard practice.
I once read that there are only two things that can pierce the human heart: beauty and pain. When we know that God loves us with agape love, which means we are confident that He has our best interest in mind, and that He is in control of our lives, we will find the confidence that we need to entrust our hearts to Him as we love others.
Hollywood has fed us a lie that the good love only exists between perfect or almost-perfect people: the beautiful, the successful, the rich, those who look like they have it all together.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Love is not only experienced by those who are perfect. Instead, love can thrive between the unlovely and the imperfect, between average people like you and I. Why do I say this? Because love is never produced by the object of my love. Instead, love exists in me first when I choose to love in spite of someone’s flaws.
As I receive grace from God for my imperfections, I can pass that grace in love on to others.
If I truly believe that God’s love is transforming, then I know that all I have to do to love others well is to stay in a close love relationship with Him. Could there be anything better?