THIS IS NOT ALWAYS A CORRECT STATEMENT. Sometimes I can’t love myself let alone love you. But, when I’m following after my God diligently and I’m not undergoing some sort of discouraging spiritual warfare, I do truly want to love you.
This is a time when nothing of me wants my own way—I’m giving it all away to you. If I could do this all the time I would truly epitomise Jesus—the only sinless One—and, of course, this will never happen, not for any of us. But, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.
The point I guess is this: it’s only when we give our “rights” and our very selves away that we can approach true love, inspiration and self-transcendence.
This is how the captain feels when they’re held up on the shoulders of their teammates in the midst of triumph, yet they instinctually want to return all the kudos to the team—not out of any sense of false pride, but in love to give away what they truly believe is the team’s. Any of the captain’s glory they wish to shower on the team; they who’ve been so devoted and faithful in the quest for team success. This is love.
The Outcomes of Relational Life Regarding Love
There are three outcomes in relational life; there are two that dominate and a third that’s rarely seen, but has all the “love” power.
The two that dominate:
- Rank selfishness >>> this is the default when dealing with strangers in everyday life, particularly in “anonymous” contexts, like on the roadways.
- Compliant love >>> this is the mandatory, “polite” love that isn’t really love at all. It’s when we “love” because we will get something out of it i.e. we do it increase our pleasure or avoid pain—simple. This is, tragically, by far the norm in all our lives.
And the third...
- Selfless, passionate love >>> a devoted love that loves because it wants to. This is love welling up from our gut and soul, inspired by the Holy Spirit.
The Role of Patience
“Love is patient... always perseveres.”
~1 Corinthians 13:4a, 7d (NIV).
A dear Facebook friend showed me recently the link between patience and love. This whole section of the famous 1 Corinthians 13 is bookended in an inclusio that is remarkable for both its power and simplicity—based entirely on the concept of patience.
I’d imagine that all of love is boiled down to the virtue of patience. To truly reach ‘Outcome 3’ and stay there consistently, surely we would need first to be enduringly patient.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.