Hazelwood – My forever Valentine!
February is the month of love and almost everyone celebrates February 14th, Valentine’s Day, in some way. It’s often a day where you share a special and opulent dinner with your loved one, or simply spend some quiet time together re-energising your relationship. But do you know where you can read the greatest love story of all? Ah, you are way ahead of me – that’s right, it’s on every page of the Bible.
Over the past two months, we have shared some ideas about ways to love. Back in December, we learned about love and our words: Listen without interrupting (Proverbs 18); Speak without accusing (James 1:19); and to Answer without arguing (Proverbs 17:1).
Last month our love thoughts considered the importance of love and our physical actions: Sharing without pretending (Ephesians 4: 15); Giving without sparing (Proverbs 21: 26); and Enjoying without complaint (Philippians 2:14-15)
Our next group of three will consider love in terms of our emotional actions. Can we learn to: Trust without wavering (1 Corinthians 13: 6-7); Forgive without punishing (Colossians 3: 13); and to Promise without forgetting (Proverbs 13: 12)?
In Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth, he penned what may well be the most familiar passage on love (1 Corinthians 13: 1-13). One can only imagine the number of times it has been used in a wedding ceremony. Our particular verse focuses on a few pretty important elements that are always worth a reminder. “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13: 6-7 (NIV). There are some pretty amazing concepts contained in this one short passage – truth, protect, trust, hope and perseverance. These are all or nothing concepts. You cannot do any of these partway! If you are fortunate enough to share a love with someone where these elements not only exist, but are constantly nurtured, you are indeed blessed.
I can’t speak for you, but I openly admit to making some pretty stupid mistakes in my relationship with my bride of 46 years. Nevertheless, we have remained committed to each despite my – and sometimes (rarely) her – errors. Now before anyone begins to speculate, none of these errors were of the serious type; they were errors of omission rather than commission. Things like coming home after a long deployment and neglecting to acknowledge the challenges she also faced over the previous months – that would amount to selfishness. These are the sort of things that, left unresolved, can fester into serious marital issues. Fortunately, we have always tried to live according to Paul’s advice that we, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3: 13 (NIV) Trust me – I know from experience – it works!
Have you ever promised to do something and then neglected to carry through and make it happen? If you have never been there – congratulations, you’re amazing! I cannot lay claim to that, but I do try my best because I believe that my word is my bond, and I also know that, “Gee honey, I forgot; but I’ll make it up to you” gets stale pretty quick. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13: 12 (NIV).
What if we were to apply these concepts to our relationship with God?
- Trust without wavering. Are truth, trust, hope and perseverance important elements there?
- Forgive without punishing. What about accepting God’s forgiveness? How might that help?
- Promise without forgetting. Don’t forget the promise that God made to us in the greatest love story of all; he hasn’t!
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NIV). That, my friends, is something well worth longing for!