Sunday, February 15, 2015

I Want to Know What Love Is

Last summer, I had the delightful task of coordinating the wedding of a beautiful young woman (and her very fortunate bridegroom)--whose mama happens to be one of my dearest friends.  At her shower, I was given the slightly nerve-wracking privilege of sharing some marital wisdom and insight.  I decided to call upon some who know just a bit more than I in this area--Tim Keller, Elisabeth Elliot, and the apostle Paul.  Their words were--and are--a beautiful challenge and a magnificent reminder of what love is.  

Below is an excerpt of what I shared--minus the teary-eyes and "oh my heart" pauses.

"In Tim Keller’s insightful treatise on marriage (The Meaning of Marriage), he says 'That while marriage is many things, it is anything but sentimental.  Marriage is glorious and hard.  It’s a burning joy and strength, yet it is also blood, sweat, and tears--refined by defeats and polished by triumphs.'  And, yes, he goes on to say that some days, you will fall into bed, after a day of trying hard to understand one another, and proclaim, “This IS all a profound mystery!”.

But, it is a mystery worth solving.  

The Love chapter in I Corinthians 13 gives us insight into how to solve this profound mystery--love. Elisabeth Eliott's book, Let Me Be A Woman, gives specific and practical illumination to the words of Paul.  

'This love of which I speak is slow to lose patience--it looks for a way of being constructive.  You can’t, of course, be constructive if you don’t perceive weakness.  But when you recognize a place where a little construction or reinforcement is needed you can begin to build up, to encourage, to strengthen.  Don’t lose patience.  Building takes a long time and you have to put up with many delays and a lot of rubble in the process.

Love is not possessive--He is still Master of each of you, and it is first of all to Him that you answer.  Trust the God who gave him to you, believe Him to keep you both.

Love is not anxious to impress nor does it cherish inflated ideas of its own importance.  It doesn’t need to do either.  You have already impressed him.  You are enormously important to him.  There is no question about that.  Accept the fact and be at rest with him.

Love has good manners and does not pursue selfish advantage.  A husband forsaking his comfortable chair when his wife walks into the room, jumping out of the car in the rain to open the door for her, preparing dinner when the day has been "busier" than she anticipated, caring for the children so that she might have a “grown-up” lunch with a friend--all of these things show that he cares about her.  She is pleased to be recognized in those ways, and he is pleased because she is pleased.  It’s another little tug on the cords that bind them together.

Love is not touchy.  Love is touched--that is, it is deeply sensitive to the feelings of another, sad when he is sad, hurt when he is hurt, glad when he is glad.  But love is not touchy.  Love gives the benefit of the doubt.

Love does not keep account of evil or gloat over the wickedness of other people.  On the contrary, it is glad with all good men when truth prevails.  Love keeps a clean slate.  This doesn’t mean, of course, that it’s possible to forget every offense.  “To forgive is human, to forget is divine.”  

Love knows no limits to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything.  It is, in fact, the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen.'"

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