Posts Tagged ‘love


Love Letters

When reading a book in the Bible it can be easy for me to think of it as a collection of theological points. Recently re-reading 1 Thessalonians I was stuck by its true character. It is, quite obviously, a love letter. Paul is pouring out his affection for the people he once met with. A people he is, at the time of writing, hindered from returning to. From the beginning he is doting on them praises and affection, celebrating the joy his “brethren beloved” bring to him. Like a loving father, or an awestruck lover, he can’t help but share the beauty he sees in them that they may not see.

Like a father who has sent out his child to make his way in the world, he has heard how cruel the world has been to him. It has caused his son to doubt his worth, and perhaps believe the hateful slurs thrown at him. And so the father reminds him of the honor he was shown his child. He reminds him of his victories in times past. And most of all, he reminds him of how he cares for him, and that as his child, he has infinite worth to the father.

He mourns and comforts them in their trials. But he also celebrates with them in their triumphs, reminding them they are not without reasons to celebrate. There are theological points in there (not to say love is outside theology). However, reading it in the light of Paul’s love makes it hard to come away thinking it is just a dry recital of  religious facts for intellectual education. Rather, these facts are shared because they are meaningful to the hearers. Knowing them gives them hope. They are shared out of the same love and concern for them as the words encouraging them not to forget how precious they are to Paul. Every word is shared in love, to remind, encourage, warn, and bring joy.


Everlasting Love

The Lord hath appeared of old unto me saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee. — Jeremiah 31:3

A couple of articles I’ve stumbled across recently have pointed to the need to accept a marriage partner as imperfect. They won’t fulfill all one’s needs, and may even cause a bit of pain. They point this out in contrast to the damaging mindset that something is wrong with the other person in the relationship, and a horrible mistake has been made in marrying them.

In thinking about this and meditating on the above verse it has struck me with new weight how important it is to strive for God’s love in a relationship. And not just marital relationships, but all relationships.

In marriage you’ve made a choice to be with someone for better or for worse. And as my friend’s dad told him on his wedding day, “Love is a choice you make every day.” It is not something naturally springing forth for us. Other people will make mistakes, will even act cruelly. But if we are to truly love, we must choose to love no matter what the other brings our way. This is the commitment we need to realize we make, hopefully before marriage rather than after. Hopefully we marry someone more like Ruth than Gomer who will reciprocate our attempts at an everlasting love.

This is easy, in principle if not in act, for a marriage or family. There is an unbreaking connection, whether by commitment or by blood. We can’t just give up on marriage, nor can we dissolve our family. But this can be a lot tougher in other relationships. For how many months do you keep calling your friend, now across the country, only talking to their voice mail before you stop making an effort in the friendship? How long do you try to win the friendship of a co-worker before settling for a business relationship only? How long do you keep presenting the gospel to someone with interest but unwilling to commit their life to God?

It is hard to say, because I fall so short on this, but it should be no different. If we truly desire to have the love of God, we can’t give up on those around us, even if the only thing connecting us is a few moments in time, seemingly long forgotten or disregarded. It’s particularly hard as I tend to be all or nothing. If I sense a need to pull back I tend to pull out. But sometimes we need to give a persistent love that is respectful of someones desire for distance without disregarding them.

It baffles me how God shows this everlasting love to us. . . how he shows it to me. I blatantly turned my back on him knowing full well the course I was taking. I claimed to desire him only desiring he would fulfill my selfish wishes. And in finally following him I’m dragging a lot of things he wants me to leave behind. Honestly I can’t image ever having this kind of love towards another person, even more so towards every person regardless of how they treat me. But I also couldn’t imagine how God has brought me from my own selfish, self-destructive ways to where I am today.

May 2018
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