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Pointers along the way #443

When we love someone
- Jacob Ninan

When a boy and girl fall in 'love' with each other, what happens usually is that they are both looking for something from the other to meet their own needs. This is really selfishness disguised under the name of love. Feelings play a big role at such times. When they die down, as they surely will after some time, these people find themselves fighting with each other!

Of course feelings are a part of true love also. But behind those feelings is an attitude or intention to value the other person as 'more important' (Php.2:3 NASB), and to be good to them. If we 'like' some people, we will have good feelings towards them. But if they are our enemies we don't like them, and we won't feel good towards them. But we can still love our enemies by considering them to be important, and keeping the intention of being good towards them (Lk.6:32-35). Sometimes we may actually be able to 'do' good to them also. This would not be possible if we just went by our feelings or likes and dislikes.

We know this kind of love is not humanly possible. But when we first know God's love for us and recognise how undeserving we are for it, God is able to create His kind of love in our hearts also (1Jn.4:19). One big secret of partaking of God's nature is to humbly acknowledge that we don't deserve it and we can't produce it. In that way we can ask for it and receive it.

We Christians are involved in different forms of love that all look 'filthy' before a true godly love that is interested in the welfare of the other person without any self-interest attached. We may do 'loving deeds' because we think they will earn us some points with God. We may want others to notice how loving we are, or how much we do for the others (Mt.6:1). Some of us do good deeds in order to compensate (in our mind) for some failure we feel guilty about. How few of us can do good secretly without expecting anything in return (Lk.6:35)!

Godly people will do good to the others looking for the eternal benefit of the others rather than only for meeting their earthly needs. Earthly needs are real and we must do what we can to meet them. But aren't eternal benefits more valuable than the earthly? Meeting earthly needs will usually receive appreciation and admiration. But many times people refrain from talking about eternal truths to the others thinking that they might get 'offended', even though we would not hesitate to provide painful remedies for physical problems. Is this coming from divine love for the others or just love for our own reputation or social comfort? Of course there is need to say things at the right time and in a loving and appropriate manner, and thoughtless words can actually cause damage rather than blessing. But what we need to see is if our actions are coming out of genuine love for the others or some selfish interest.

We need to keep growing in love because that is the way we can avoid becoming cold. Keep looking at Jesus and His love for us (He.12:2).


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