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Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be. Shel Silverstein

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I just got home from a wonderful dinner/ discussion with my boss and his wife. Side note: I couldn't be more blessed to have them as mentors in my life. (That rhymed!) Anyways, we were on the topic of romantic relationships and also friendships and Kirk (boss) used the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32) as the model upon which we should all follow in all our relationships. I could go into a huge long description and analysis but instead, I will keep it short.

1. We can't be the younger brother who believes that love must be earned through action.
2. We can't be the older brother who expects love despite our shortcomings.
3. We must strive to be the father who loves unconditionally (through grace) despite how the love is returned and let that unconditional love be what motivates others to reciprocate their love to you rather than your own expectations and demands.

This is difficult because:
1. As humans, our first instinct is to be selfish and make it our priority to get what we feel like we deserve before we give back.
2. It makes our hearts vulnerable to give away love knowing that we may not get it in return.
3. Even though we may start loving "unconditionally," its difficult to not get bitter or upset when loving "unconditionally" doesn't provide us with the results we expected

To succeed we must:
1. Stay focused on God through the process since he of course is our ultimate model. We must pray for the ability to give grace which takes patience. It also means that we must rely on the perfect love of God and not our own. We must see the person we are in relationship with (familial, friendly, or romantic) through the eyes of God rather than through our own flawed vision.
2. Trust the other person with our hearts. We can only do this adequately if we are in constant communication and focus on God because that feeds our faith. A strong faith in God is vital to trust others with our heart because with that faith, we can have total comfort that God will protect it no matter how the other person treats it.
3. Realize that all epically wonderfully things in this world come with difficultly. You have to work really hard at it and endure hard times. That's why relationships are a commitment, a commitment to unconditionally love the other person even and especially through the hard times. That's what makes it so beautiful.

Let WIKIHOW teach you how to love! It actually speaks some good advice :)

Love is both an action and a feeling. The action of love generates a blissful feeling called by the same name. When the action stops, the blissful feeling is replaced with pain. Every person is capable of great love (and its opposite, fear, which generates all painful emotions such as hate, greed and jealousy).

I greatly appreciate that WIKIHOW defines the opposite of Love not as Hate, but as Fear. This is so true because everything that prevents you from completely and totally unconditionally loving another person through grace is the fear that you will get hurt in the process. If you trust the other person with the power given to you through your faith in God's protection, then fear is absolutely unnecessary and subsequently also anxiety and jealousy. (The things I struggle with the most)

I feel like sometimes we (or maybe just me) read bible verses about how we should love one another and think "yes, I should be loved that way" and whenever I don't get loved that way (due to my own inability to practice what the verses say), I get upset and hurt and feel like I am not being loved the way I deserve. Instead, I should read the verses and only be concerned about applying them to how I love others. How others should love me should never be of concern. The question should be "How can I love better?" instead of "How can I be loved better?"

Here are three of many many verses I personally need to start reading with that first question in mind:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Romans 12:9-12

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.
Ephesians 4:2-3


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