Learn About The Act Of Caring
“The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by His Spirit who is given to us” (Romans 5:5, KJV).
“There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer; no disease that enough love will not heal; no door that enough love will not open; no gulf that enough love will not bridge; no wall that enough love will not throw down; no sin that enough love will not redeem. It makes no difference how deeply seated may be the trouble, how hopeless the outlook, how muddled the tangle, how great the mistake, a sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all…If only you could love enough, you would be the happiest and most powerful being in the world…” so wrote poet Emmett Fox as he described the power of love. Yet his words contain a fatal flaw, “if only you could love enough…”
Talking about love’s power is one thing; translating it into action, the tough‑kind of love that is stronger than the assaults made on it, is quite another thing. Too often our love is as fragile as a delicate flower that quickly withers when the first blast of desert air hits it. Love in theory is beautiful–in practice it is hard.
I’m thinking of a comic strip by Parker and Hart called, “The Wizard of Id.” The opening frame shows a minister as he intones, “Love is where it’s at, my children. Love thine enemy, love thy neighbor. Love one another. Love is the way.” Then the final frame shows him standing at the door shaking hands with his parishioners and he is thinking to himself, “This is the part I hate the most.”
The big question is simply this, “How can I translate love into everyday living? How can I be a more loving mom or dad? How can I love the members of my own family who are not very lovable? The first thing I would point out is that the human heart is really an amazing thing. Your heart, friend, has the amazing capacity to love hundreds of people, even thousands of different individuals provided (and the condition is a big one) you are not in love with yourself. The individual who is wrapped up with his own interests and is in love with himself never has enough room left in his heart to love anybody else.
The second observation that I have to make is that love is a sacrifice that costs something, yet real love never counts the cost. Unlike much of our thinking today that considers something we receive, real love is a sacrifice, which demands you give of yourself and your means to someone else. As I see it, this sacrifice involves your intellect, your emotions, your bodies and your spirits. In other words, it surrounds your entire being. It puts the interest and satisfaction of the other above your own interest and satisfaction.
The third observation about love is that you can’t give it if you don’t have it yourself. You can’t fake it if you don’t have it in your heart; you can’t really give it away any more than you can come back from some place you have never been to. Let me go one step further as I put my finger on the nerve of the whole matter: A long time ago the Apostle John wrote, “God is love, and he who does not love knows not God for God is love” (I John 4:8).
Love is not a feeling, an emotion; it is a force, a powerful one that affects healing, a glue which causes relationships to cement, a balm which brings healing, a lubricant to the daily irritations of life, an elixir that gives joy to relationships, and an oxygen that allows relationships to breathe. It is this plus a great deal more.
Resource reading: I Peter 4:8-11