Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Love Is A Feeling? Not Always

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One of the biggest lies in our culture today is this one: Love is a feeling. We'll be talking about this briefly at the Pure In Heart Conference on Saturday, and in our do-what-feels-right world, this particular deception is pretty hard to crack. After 22+ years of marriage, however, I have learned that while love the emotion can be a roller coaster ride, love the action will keep a relationship on track.

In truth, the picture of love that our kids see expressed in our marriages is the one that will reign as the standard for their lives. It's like a measuring stick. Every male-female relationship they see will
measure up to that standard, go beyond it, or drop far behind. Likewise, the active love we give our children—though it may not be recognized in real time—is stored in their hearts and minds, wrapped in their memories. Love can be expressed in words, thoughts, prayers, and affection, but mostly, real love is embodied by servant action and selfless attitude. The Bible offers several practical ways to show real love.

Put others first. Real love means thinking of others before yourself. Does your child see you putting your husband’s needs and desires above your own? This can be as simple as saving him the last piece of pie or handing him the remote. Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves (Philippians 2:3).

Brew full-strength love. The way you think affects the way you love. Concentrate on thoughts that produce and amplify loving feelings toward your spouse, and avoid thoughts that focus on the fusses, feuds, and failures the two of you have experienced. Remember that your thoughts often spill out of your mouth, thus affecting everyone around you. Above all, keep your love for one another at full strength, since love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).

Copy Christ’s love. The Bible reveals that Jesus didn’t “feel” like it when the time came for Him to be crucified. In the simplest of terms, Jesus chose the action of love when the emotion of love was being threatened by His humanity. He commands us to do the same. This is My commandment: that you love one another just as I have loved you (John 15:12).

If growing up is a series of choices, we parents must know that we can guide our children to right actions and attitudes. We are here to set an example, chart a course, and eventually, take a backseat. (So, so hard to do!) If we choose loving actions in every relationship, even when loving emotions are absent, our kids will learn to do the same.

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