Friday, April 29, 2016

Learning to Love

By: Sarah MacKinney

I guess you could say I am on a "love soapbox." A few weeks ago in my blog I talked about what love looks like and as I was praying about what to share this week, I kept coming back to the phrase, "Learning to Love." When God so obviously puts something in my path over and over again, I believe it's Him showing me areas I need to mature in. We've all heard the words, "Love your enemies, pray for them, do good to those that persecute you." We hear them, we agree we should; but how often do we let those phrases go in one ear and out the other? It is so much easier to be kind to those who are kind to us, right?  And pray for the people who insult me? Well, that can't be right! Surely it was a typo in the Bible, a misprint perhaps? This can be a hard pill to swallow. When we have been hurt, insulted or let down; sometimes the last thing we want to do is pray for that person. But we are commanded in Matthew 5:44, "But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." I have found this hard to do many times in my life, but I can attest to the fact that although the progress may seem slow, God can change your heart. When we ask Him to pour out His blessings and to give us His eyes and His heart for those we struggle with; it happens. It may take time and it may appear to be a seemingly unattainable task, but slowly we find ourselves learning to love the same people we once thought it would be an impossibility to love.

Learning to love is a constant lesson. It's easy to love my kids and my husband, my friends and my family. But even the people I find easy to love, I should constantly be looking for ways to love them better. #love #family #relationships #inspiration #encouragement

Learning to love is a constant lesson. It's easy to love my kids and my husband, my friends and my family. But even the people I find easy to love, I should constantly be looking for ways to love them better. I pray on a weekly basis that God will help me be the wife and mom that my family needs. And this takes time and deliberate attention to achieve. Each person receives love in a different way, we aren't all the same. Some feel uplifted by encouraging words, some by spending one on one time together; still others feel loved when you help them with a project or give them a hug. I subbed this week for the 5th and 6th grade class at the local Christian school. I was curious to discover their love languages so I took a poll of their class and some of the teachers. Out of the 25 people I asked, only one of them said touch, nobody said acts of service, only 2 said gifts, 4 said positive words and the majority (18) said quality time. This is proof that we are all different and receive love in different ways.  I could ask 25 more people and the numbers and responses would be different. If you know me at all, it doesn't take long to figure out that encouraging words are my top love language. I could hear 10 "atta girls" and feel loved or get 10 hugs and the "atta girls" would mean more every single time. It is how I receive love best. I believe it is my job, our job, to discover the love languages for the people in our lives. Then strive to love them better!

What about when it comes to people we find irritating? I'm guessing one person in particular popped into your mind when I said irritating, am I right?! Sometimes in our fleshy selfishness, we think "I would really love to help that person, but it won't be me, they get on my nerves!" Or.... "I really hope someone helps out that family,but I already helped them a few months ago so it's someone else's turn." Do you take the initiative? Do you step up to show love? When we love people, when we serve them even when it isn't convenient for us, we show the heart of Jesus. And when we get in the word and read about His love, when we learn about His character, then we discover how we should love. We never just "arrive" at loving people or become experts, it's a constant goal we should be trying to attain.  

You have opportunities every single day to show love to people and you have opportunities every single day to learn how to love. Watch the people around you, do they model love and kindness, or selfishness and negativity? Sometimes our peers are the best (or worst) teachers. Loving others means that at times you sacrifice your own needs or wants to help someone else. It means more than just saying we love others, it is showing them in our actions. Does this mean you say yes to everything and become a doormat for everyone? No. With learning to love comes learning how to establish healthy boundaries (but that is a whole other topic!). Sometimes it is easy to get tired and weary of doing good, but the Bible warns us not too because in the end we will receive a harvest. We will get our reward and it will be good! So I encourage you to make it a daily goal to learn to love people better. Some of the most beautiful people I know are not necessarily beautiful because of their outward appearance, they are beautiful because they love like Jesus. Don't you want to be that person? I know I do.


1 comment:

  1. Loving the way the person needs to be loved. I asked my husband to do a check. And he gave me some simple ways I show love beyond affection. I felt better knowing I'm not failing...for one can think they are doing it all right only to find out that no. It wasn't ever right I guess.


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