Are you a good lover?
I mean — how good are you at loving others?
I recently read a blog by Debrah Fileta in which she asks this exact same question.
Just this morning I realized that it’s only 18 more days until Christmas. For me, this is an exciting time. It’s the first time in almost five years that I’ll be spending Christmas “at home” (I’m currently in Namibia, visiting Tobie’s parents), and it will also be my first New Family Christmas, seeing that this is the first Christmas Tobie and I get to spend together.
We spent the morning gift-hunting for his parents and my mother and grandmother (who will be flying in on the 20th to join us for Family style Christmas), wrapping gifts, writing cards, and I spent a good amount of time online, hunting down decor ideas. And, though this is a lot of fun, it’s still not what Christmas is all about. Yes, it’s part of it, but essentially, Christmas is the celebration of LIFE.
Jesus Christ was BORN so that we could have life! (More about this later!) For now, let’s get back to my question — are you a good lover?
Debrah said that she first thought about this question when she read a quote by missionary, Amy Carmichael, that says: “If I want to be loved, more than to love, to be served, more than to serve… then I know nothing of Calvary’s love.”
Oftentimes we’re guilty of Being Good People. We give money to the poor begging at traffic lights (though we never look them in the eye), and we regularly go to church (like Good People should). We give money to charity and we pray for our friends and family. All those things are great, but, do they make us GOOD LOVERS?
Love is ALWAYS in demand. We were made to be loved and to love as we are loved. We spend our lives trying to find love, to create it, sometimes to give it. We make friends who love us. We marry those we love, and we have children — all for the sake of love. People love love, and they’ll do anything to find it.
I must admit, I’m often guilty of “loving at a distance”. What I mean by this is that, when confronted by a situation that frustrates me (oftentimes involving people with whom I’ve ground at a relationship) I’ll often tell my family that “they just need a little love.” And yes, it’s an easy thing to say — or even to give — if it does not take ALL you have.
Our culture has taught us that love can be substituted by many things — a good education, expensive gifts, gadgets and gizmos. In short: Love = Money.
However, this is not true. No amount of money given to charity can compensate for a child’s need for hugs and quality time. I’ve never met a rich man who sacrificed time with his family in favour of monetary gain and thought it worthwhile.
Christmas is about loving. It’s about God who so LOVED the world that He sent His ONLY Son (John 3:16) as payment so that the relationship between God and man might be restored. So that we might meet Love.
There’s a song by Lawson that says:
“That you and I could learn to love again
After all this time Maybe that is how I knew you were the one That you could still believe in me again After all our trials Maybe that is how I knew you were the one To awake and know we made it through the storm And someone saves their sweet embrace For you and you alone.”
Though this is a contemporary song, it speaks to me about the relationship between us and God — that we might learn to love again despite all the trials.
You see, Man was MADE for love. Not only do we want to be loved, but we want to be loved WELL. We live for affection, for affirmation.
We can spend so much of our life wanting love, that we forget to pour ourselves into GIVING love. Being love. Showing love.
Essentially, God loves us so that we might know His love and thereby be LOVE to others.
I’m challenged to love more than I want to be love. It’s always hard to do something if you’re not getting any return on your investment. But, that’s exactly what God did when He sent Jesus. I love because of a God who poured out His love for me — expecting, and oftentimes receiving, nothing in return.
1 Corinthians 13, one of the most famous passages on Love, teaches us what Godly love should look like.
The Way of Love
13 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 2 If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. 3-7 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love. Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn't want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn't strut, Doesn't have a swelled head, Doesn't force itself on others, Isn't always “me first,” Doesn't fly off the handle, Doesn't keep score of the sins of others, Doesn't revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.
And, this is what Christmas is about — about being good lovers. By this I don’t mean that you should give more to charity or missions during Christmas time than all the other times of the year (remember, money does not compensate for affection and affirmation), but I do mean that we should remember WHY we love.
May you and your family have a Christmas that is filled with Love. May your holiday run over with Light. May you find joy in the realization of the value of family and friendships. May you be filled with the goodness of God, with the joy and the peace of His presence. May you love those around you — regardless of whether they love you back. May you share the Good News of God’s love with others. And may you experience the limitless love God has for you.
Have a brilliant Christmas, and God’s richest blessings for 2015!