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Sunday, July 27, 2008

What Does it Mean to "LOVE"?


By DeBorrah Ogans

What does it mean to love someone? Does it mean you give them everything they want? Does it mean letting someone run over you? Does it mean you tell them what they want to hear? Does it mean you never make them angry? Does love ever end? Webster defines love in this way; strong affection for another based on kinship ties. Example: maternal love for a child. Attraction based on sexual desire. Admiration or benevolence. Warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion. A beloved person: Darling. Brotherly concern for others. To hold dear. To feel a lover's passion, devotion, or tenderness. An unselfish concern of God for man. The scriptures tell us that "God is Love." Tell me can you really truly love someone and not know God? Or better yet to the degree you know God; does it help you love in a profound way? According to I Corinthians LOVE...is PATIENT...is KIND...does not ENVY... does not BOAST... Is not PROUD...is not SELFISH. Keeps no record of wrong doings...does not DELIGHT in EVIL...but REJOICES in TRUTH. Always protects. Always TRUSTS. Always HOPES. Always PERSEVERES. Does your definition of love encompass Biblical principles?

I have found that love is a term that many people use loosely. If you listen clearly they usually base love on doing or not doing something for them. Love is not giving someone what they want. Love is not letting people run over you. Love is not telling people what they want to hear. If you love them you will speak the truth in love. Just know when you truly love people they will get angry with you sometimes! Their perspective of you will modify. You are no longer the kind wonderful person that they thought you were. All of a sudden you will be perceived as being cold, uncaring, and selfish. They will accuse you of not really loving them when you don't give them what they want. Don't fret! God knows your heart. In the meantime pray for them. Begin to practice healthy boundaries with them.

There are many angry people who will chew you out at the drop of a hat. They have oodles of pent up unresolved anger. Cancer, high blood pressure, eating disorders, temper tantrums and depression are just a few results of stored anger. It's okay for them to have a tantrum. But you are expected to appease them. Anger is natural. Encourage them to find healthy ways to express their anger. Suppressing anger is unhealthy. Just know it takes more control to not respond than to throw a fit. Did you know you can be angry and sin not?

By the way you must let go of some people you love. I am not talking about letting go like in divorce. Divorce occurs because two adults are not able to work through whatever problems they are experiencing. They are not able to keep the commitment they made to each other for whatever reason. Often this is because they really didn't think things through first. Many couples are unaware of the necessary tenacity for an enduring marriage. (But that's another column). When I say letting go I mean putting them in hands of the Lord. Allow Him to intervene. There are those who just enjoy a habitat of tension and confusion. Did you know you could break unhealthy cycles by employing better ways to resolve conflict? Avoiding conflict is not healthy. Allowing a cooling off period before discussing the problem may be helpful. Words spoken in a fit of anger can be very damaging. Letting go and allowing them space to feel the consequences for their actions can be beneficial to their spiritual maturity.

The world is a very inconsistent place. God's standards are not respected nor appreciated. God must be the central focus of your life for true successful living. The prophets pleaded over and over with God's people to return to his principles. God wants to be first in your life. God has instructed us to; "Hear O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord. And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thine soul, and with all thine might. And thou shalt teach them diligently unto they children and talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest....... (Deuteronomy 6) God loves us and is faithful. His WORD is true.

Love will help you weather the storms of life. Love must be balanced. The term conditional love is often used today. I often hear I can do without your kind of love. Well your kind or my kind of love is not love at all. God sets the standard. God is love. Unless we measure it by His standards it's merely subjective opinion. For example; the more I don't rock your boat you love me. Once you rock my boat I tell you to get out. Now all of a sudden you cry, "You don't love me". As long as I let you rock my boat it's thought of as love. WRONG! How can something as important as Love be reduced to such insignificant terms. Don't get love confused with how you feel. You can not like what someone does and still love them. It is love that actually helps you to respond or not respond to them despite the way you feel. Remember God's love rejoices in the truth! Beware of counterfeit love. When you have been truly loved you will know the difference. True love is kind of like quality; you know it when you see it. "I love the Lord because he heard my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to my prayers." (Psalms 116) This is one of my favorite passages of scriptures. We are saved by God's grace. The Lord has saved my entire household! This motivates me to stand for what is right. Our purpose for living is to praise and worship HIM! Knowing that forever we will be together gives me an unexplainable peace and security in the midst of a world full of turmoil. For this I am eternally grateful!

Few people really know what it means to be loved. People live in estranged relationships for years. Households are literally filled with strangers. Sickness, anger, resentment and unresolved bitterness becomes the cohesive components to bind them together. Don't spend a lot of time in the garbage of life! God has a better way for you to live. It's never to late to implement His principles in your daily lifestyle. He can and will guide you. Get off the broad road. This is the worldly road. The broad road leads to destruction. The narrow road leads to God. But there are only a few that find it. Scriptures tells us that love covers a multitude of faults. This does not mean we ignore or condone sinful habits. Don't be deceived! There are consequences for sin.

God always allows you to choose. It is the unselfish concern of God for man that explains love in a nutshell. God loved us so much that He gave His only begotten Son to die for us. To redeem us from the power of sin. In order to free us from sin's captivity. He laid down His life for us! There is no greater love than this? Does grace give us the right to willfully sin? God forbid! Out of spiritual ignorance we support all the wrong things in people. We literally "love them to death". When they are six feet under we cry, rant, rave and shout. But why wait until it's to late? Why do we allow people we say we care about to slowly die little by little right before our faces? Why not do something while the blood is still running warm in their veins? It's because we don't want to hurt their feelings. Right! We don't want to hurt their feelings but what about hurting their life? We prefer to take away their motivation to change by comforting them in sin. Motive is always key in whatever you do. Some people have been loved so wrong for so long they can't recognize true love.

We can not change anybody. But we can stop supporting what we know is wrong. Some thing's will just not be understood on this side of heaven! Believe it or not God does not support wrong! I don't care if you have two or two thousand or two million people to support you if it's wrong it's wrong. No one is above reproach. Just try reading Jeremiah. Look at what obedience and love he had for God and His principles! For over 40 years he pleaded with Israel. They ignored a great opportunity for spiritual, moral and ethical maturity. They still chose to justify their sins. Did you know that they did not repent in Jeremiah's time? I wonder if they thought Jeremiah was too negative and needed a personality adjustment? Just imagine the rejection and ridicule he received for taking a stance against sin! Jeremiah didn't just talk the talk. He walked it! He was steadfast! God is about freedom! Sin is a slavemaster. Did you know that it is easier for many to believe a lie rather than believe the truth? God is a Spirit of Truth. "They that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth"!

God will bless and keep you in any and all circumstances. Remember GOD is Love! God is eternal! "Stand fast in the liberty that Christ has set you free and be not entangled with a yoke of bondage! Sin is bondage. The Love, freedom, and security that God provides is priceless! Get off the broad road. Discover that narrow road that only a few find. Commit to making a conscious effort to sin less and love with Godly Love! HALLELUJAH!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

DeBorrah K. Ogans is a licensed Pastoral Counselor and ordained minister. She is certified through the Sarasota Academy of Christian Counseling in Creation Therapy and holds a Master's Degree in Biblical Clinical Counseling. She is the author of a pre-marital guide "How Do I Love Thee: Things You Need To Know Before You Say I Do," and just released her second book "Holy Matrimony: Now That You're Married". She writes an ongoing Counselor's Corner for Alpha 7 Ministries to help individuals, couples, and families establish an intimate relationship with God, which in turn helps them establish better relationships with one another.


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