Today is the last post in my little talk about love. There are many more things that I could talk about when it comes to love, but I'm trying to keep my posts from being too long. :-) Last time we talked about the characteristics of love. Today, let's talk about some demonstrations of love. My thoughts after the jump.
Let me preface my thoughts by saying that I am far from perfect. I don't always show love like I should. I don't always love my wife in the way I should. I don't always speak the truth in love like I should. Nobody is capable of living a life of love 100% of the time, but I still strive to be loving. Having a wife helps to teach me how to be more loving. It helps me to know when I'm being loving, and when I'm not, and how I could be loving when I'm not. I want to always think, speak, and act in a manner that is loving towards others. I believe that my wife is a helper for me in this area, among others. For that I am thankful. :-)
So, how can one demonstrate love? Well, for starters, you can tell somebody you love them. Actions do speak louder than words, but for somebody who doesn't often even hear that they are loved, the simple act of saying, "I love you," can have a profound impact. To have a lasting impact though, this phrase cannot be hollow, it needs to be backed up by proof, by actions. This can be done in many little ways, like keeping your promises, speaking kind and encouraging words, doing as you say you will, helping somebody out, sending them cards and presents, etc. All of these things are good and nice and can be done to show somebody love, but can't love go deeper than that? All of those things can be done easily when times are going well, but what about when times are not going well?
You see, all of those things I mentioned about can be done without, or with conditions. They are easy to do. Sometimes the condition is simply that I do these things because you love me back, or because you'll do the same for me. Real, deep, unconditional love though, is selfless and sacrificial. For example, recall that in part 2 I mentioned that love, "rejoices with the truth." So what if you had to tell somebody something truthful, but that truth, even though it will ultimately help and build up the other person, could cause a breaking of the relationship? Lying to the person, downplaying the truth, or covering it up would only allow the person to continue in some act or thinking that is harmful because they don't recognize it as harmful, but telling them the truth will make them think you are judging them or that you yourself are in the wrong. What do you do? Remember, real love rejoices in truth. Even though you may sacrifice your relationship with that person, to be truthful is loving. Now, that being said, I must also say that the truth must be told in a loving way. How you tell the truth can potentially be just as damaging and harmful as the falsity that the other person is following if the truth is not said in a loving way. For more on this, aspect, please go on over to my wife's blog at doveofsnow where she has a post on just this. http://doveofsnow.blogspot.com/2011/06/speaking-truth.html
Now, what if showing your love requires an even greater sacrifice? Even the greatest sacrifice? The greatest love you could show somebody, is to sacrifice yourself for them. That is saying, I love you so much, just because you are you, that I am willing to die for you. Think about it. If somebody risked their life for yours, even if they didn't know you, don't you think they love you, if for nothing else, than the fact that you are another human being that deserves to have a chance at life. The Bible states it this way.
"Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends."--John 15:13
There is no greater love you can show somebody, than to lay your life down for theirs. Knowing this, it is simply amazing, and pure joy when I think of what God did for me. You see, I believe that Jesus, God in human form, laid down his life for us on the roman cross, one of the most brutal ways to die, all so that we might have a relationship with God.
In John 15:14-15, Jesus says to his followers, "You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you."
So what did Jesus command us to do? Most importantly, to believe in HIM! He calls us friends if we believe in him. And he died willingly on the cross so that we could have that relationship. Here is where the love of God goes even deeper though.
"For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."--Romans 5:6-8
You, see, even BEFORE we did what Christ commanded, BEFORE he calls us friends, He showed his love for us by dying for us, while we were still in our sin, seperated from God. All we have to do, is accept that love, by following His commands, trusting in Jesus to forgive your sins and loving Him with all your heart, soul, and mind. That's all. I can't think of any greater example of love than that. If you'd like to know more about this great sacrifice and great love, feel free to drop me a comment, I'd love to tell you more. Have a great day!