Monday, October 26, 2009

My Misconception of Love (an apology to my first love) by Candace Harney

Enjoy this guest post by the lovely Ms. Candace Harney:

Soooo, in my short life I have had misconceptions of love (we ALL have) but I'm learning more and more about what it truly is. However, I’ll be focusing on one misconception in particular. I will begin with the 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV):

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."

I used to ask my first love WHY did he love me. He could never really answer the question and then I would get upset. I felt that if he loved me he should be able to tell me why. He would initially tell me that he didn’t know why but I wouldn’t be pleased with that response. So after prodding him some more he would give me random reasons for why he loved me and then I would be appeased. I....WAS..... WRONG!

True love, the love that God give us (which is Himself. When he loves us He give us Himself. How Awesome!), is UNCONDITIONAL. What does unconditional mean? Unconditional means “not limited by conditions.” This tells us that if you have to find a reason to be loved or have a condition to love, then you are not living in or experiencing TRUE LOVE. GOD’S LOVE IS UNCONDITIONAL LOVE; AGAPE LOVE which is the love that God requires us to love Him and one another in.

True love loves without any reason or condition. Example, if my boyfriend were to tell me “ I love you because you’re kind, funny and giving.” then that tells me that anytime I fail to be these thing, then I can not be loved by him. In addition, if his love towards me stops because I am the opposite of these things then the “love” that he showed me was conditional and thus, not TRUE LOVE in the first place. Go back to the top and look at the attributes of LOVE in 1 Corinthians 13 carefully. Still don’t believe me? Then answer these questions:

1. Why does God love you?

2. Did you do anything to earn God’s love?

3. Can you do anything to stop God from loving you?

These questions I have found very difficult to answer and in search for answers, they have helped me to understand God’s love a little better. Let’s see what the scriptures says in regards to these questions:

“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:8-11 (NIV)

“Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” - Romans 5:7-9 (NIV)

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” - Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)

From these scriptures I am left to conclude that there is NO conditions attached to God’s love for us. We can not earn His love and we can not do anything to lose His love. He just simply loves us!
I believe that this is hard for us to comprehend because humanistic love tends to be conditional the majority of the time. One day we love, then the next day we don’t. However, those who have been able to tap into unconditional love where their love towards someone holds the attributes in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 has had a taste of what God’s love is like towards us…and only a taste because God loves us even more than this!

One of my spiritual mentors started giving me examples of real love. One that stood out in particular was this: He said "Candace, true love is when a man catches his wife in adultery and instead of telling others how she has wronged him or divorcing her, he forgives her, covers her offense and desires to work it out. Candace, that's love." Then he said " If that same man, finds his wife cheating again and choses to forgive her again and work it out, Candace, that's love." The old Candace, would have thought "No! That ain't love. That's just stupid!" However, when I measure up what my mentor was telling me, to 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 and measure it up to how God loves and deals with us, THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT LOVE WOULD DO. In NO way am I saying for someone to subject themselves to abuse from a spouse but the heart that desires to forgive over and over again, to hold no wrongs against someone and to hide their sin, that heart is expressing UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.

So, I guess, this is my official apology to my ex-boyfriend. I have learned through Him that love can not be found in reasoning or in words alone but love is felt and known when it is experienced… just like God.

Now the next task in unconditional, agape love is to LOVE your enemies! WHOOPTIE DOO! lol
Jesus said:

"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?... Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” - Matthew 5:43-46;48

When you have achieved this requirement, that’s when you know you have experienced the Spirit of God working through you and no longer your flesh. By your own ability you CAN NOT love your enemies. It is only by the supernatural power of God that this is possible.

So my prayer is that God will teach us to love unconditionally.

Always strive to be more like Jesus.

Be encouraged.


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