Relationships are like competing in a Grand Prix road race. We’re not talking about a lazy Sunday afternoon drive through the countryside looking at the cotton, wheat or corn. Relationships are complicated, high-speed stuff. The smallest misjudgment can cause you to spin out, crash into the barriers and destroy a very expensive vehicle. To be successful in a Grand Prix, you need a professional driver. When it comes to relationships, there’s only one professional who has driven this course successfully – Jesus Christ. He’s the one who made relationships from the very beginning, and He’s the one who can empower them and steer them in the right direction. Jesus said:
Love each other as I have loved you. – John 15:12
He wants to give you His power to love in a new and better way.
Much of what you call love may actually be little more than polite selfishness.
You say, “I love you,” but you really mean,
- “I love you because…”
- Because of what you do for me
- Because you’re pretty
- Because you’re handsome
- Because you’re smart
- Because you’re rich
- Because, because, because…
- Or you really mean, “I love you if…”
- If you meet my needs
- If you’re not too much trouble
- If you stay trim and fit
- Or you may mean, “I love you when…”
- When I’m successful
- When I’ve had a good day
- When you anticipate my every need and want
- When I feel like it.
Have a Servant’s Heart
Jesus calls us to a higher kind of love. You were never meant to do it on our own. The only time Jesus ever told His disciples to do what He was doing was in John 13:14-17. You can see from this passage that LOVE is a verb.
14 And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. 16 I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message. 17 Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them.
“As I have loved you” requires first a Servant’s Heart. Are you willing
willing to put down all your “becauses” and your “ifs” and your “whens'” and prepare to serve your spouse? I mean really serve. Randy Stinson of Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, KY says you need to find out what blesses your spouse and then do it well and do it often.
Gary Chapman says figure out your spouse’s primary love languages and deliver what blesses so that your wife or your husband gets to be loved the way she or he wants to be loved. www.5lovelanguages.com/profile
Choose to Forgive
The backside of loving with a Servant’s Heart is to love as Jesus loved, by having an increased capacity to forgive remembering all the while that you were corrupt and depraved when Jesus chose to forgive you.
Remember that what you hear from your spouse that is hurtful or distressing or urges you to angry responses is:
- More about him or her than it is about you
- It is NOT all about current events
- You need to learn to listen to the feelings behind the words being spoken and be quick to understand rather than to respond …and
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving
each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
– Ephesians 4:32
Disabuse yourself of the notion that you cannot let past hurts go. You can.
A caveat, however, if the hurt breaks trust, forgiveness does not mean regaining trust automatically or immediately. When husbands or wives break trust, it will take time to restore it. Forgiveness must be immediate, but trust can only rebuilt over time with repetitive trustworthy behaviors.
One final note. Carrying a grudge hurts you more than it does the one who offended. That’s not just an idle throwaway, it’s the truth.
When you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in Heaven will forgive your sins, too.
– Mark 11:25 NLT
Forgiveness is a gift from God Himself to you.
Start by receiving this gift. You receive this gift by offering to God a prayer of trust. “Father, I trust in you for forgiveness. I know I cannot earn your favor. I trust you to show me how to forgive others to my very limits, trusting you to take it the rest of the way.”
Accept God’s gift. Then respond by passing the gift on to others.
Adapted from an excerpt from The Relationship Principles of Jesus by Tom Holladay as quoted in Devotionals Daily from Faith Gateway.