It’s wedding week in the Beals household, and I’ve been thinking quite a bit about what genuine love looks like. Rebekah and I have had many great conversations about life and love, and I’ve been mulling over the command to love God and others in a new way this week…in a practical way, so that I can flesh it out in words and advice to my daughter.
It’s surreal to think that the words I speak to her have the potential to impact generations (especially my own grandchildren someday) and to do good to her husband-to-be.
And I’m thankful that in the midst of the busyness, the Lord has given me clarity about what loving well looks like so I don’t overload her with information because it’s my “last chance.” Not really, but that’s how it feels.
But love is pretty simple.
Love is not about what you can get from someone. It’s not how you feel. It’s not in the give/take tension/compromise the world promotes.
What is love? And how do we best show love?
I really appreciated Jen Wilkin’s definition of love in her Bible study over I John which I highly, highly recommend.
I’m paraphrasing Jen from the notes I’ve taken:
Love is an intelligent, purposeful attitude of esteem or devotion. A self-less, purposeful, outgoing attitude that desires to do good to the one loved.
Love is not given because the recipient is worthy, or meeting your needs today, or because you are personally feeling fulfilled, or based on your spouse living up to your expectations. No, because our love is supposed to mimic Christ’s love for us and we all know that he loved us when we were still horribly unlovely and wallowing around in the mire of our sin. We were the object of his intentional, decided love.
Jen then contrasted love with hate:
Hate is the purposeful attitude of disrespect (vs esteem) and disregard (vs devotion), a selfish, purposeful, self-centered attitude that desires to do harm to the one hated. An attitude of contempt, or worse, indifference.
How do you go about loving others in a practical way? What advice do you give your daughter on loving well?
You tell her to live out the Golden Rule.
By the way, the golden rule is often twisted in our minds into something like this:
Don’t do what you don’t want others to do to you. If you don’t want someone to___________ to you, then don’t ______ them.
But that’s not it at all.
It’s DO unto others, the thing you’d want done to you.
“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12
This is pretty simple because we all know how we wish others would treat us. With kindness, dignity, and respect. So be the first one to act. Outdo one another with kindness.
If you’d like him to make you coffee, then you make it for him.
If you’d like him to remember you during the day, you text him and let him know you’ve remembered him.
If you’d like him to speak with gentleness, you speak that way.
And honestly, if we lived like this, our marriage advice could be cut refreshingly short.
Be proactive with kindness.
Do the thing you’d love done to you.
Matthew Henry says this:
Christ came to teach us, not only what we are to know and believe, but what we are to do; not only toward God, but toward men; not only toward those of our party and persuasion, but toward men in general, all with whom we have to do. We must do that to our neighbour which we ourselves acknowledge to be fit and reasonable. We must, in our dealings with men, suppose ourselves in the same case and circumstances with those we have to do with, and act accordingly.
And Calvin says this:
The only reason why so many quarrels exist in the world, and why men inflict so many mutual injuries on each other, is, that they knowingly and willingly trample justice under their feet, while every man rigidly demands that it shall be maintained towards himself…
Perfect justice would undoubtedly prevail among us, if we were as faithful in learning active charity, (if we may use the expression,) as we are skillful in teaching passive charity.
…the second table of the law is fulfilled, when every man conducts himself in the same manner towards others, as he wishes them to conduct themselves towards him. There is no need, he tells us, of long and involved debates, if this simplicity is preserved, and if men do not, by inordinate self-love, efface the rectitude which is engraven on their hearts.
Don’t weddings tend to make you look at your own marriage and relationships and evaluate if your love has been Biblical or not?
Moms, we have the privilege of training our kids to love well by simply loving well by example. Our daughters learn how to love a husband by watching us. And we all learn from each other by being the recipients of sacrificial Christ-like love on the days we don’t deserve it. And we are more apt to love like Christ when we’re infused with His love and preoccupied with His goodness to us.
Thankful for these days. Thankful for time. Thankful for Rebekah’s Peter, the “boy” I’ve been praying for since Rebekah was a child. Thankful for God’s love to us which has shown us what genuine love looks like.