How Do We Really Love?
We often hear of songs about love, and we get different meanings to what love is all about. But what is love really all about? It all takes root in God’s love. When we have God’s love deep in our hearts, everything else follows. With the grace of God, we are able to be patient, trusting, and love unconditionally no matter what life throws at us.
Patience plays a vital role. People can’t have the capacity to love unconditionally if they are impatient. It’s an ingredient for anger and stress. Why do people get stressed out and impatient? It is caused by conditions that are unforeseen which we have no control of yet which we want to take control of. Take driving in the traffic for example, or having noisy uncontrollable kids while you are doing something important, or getting swindled by somebody, or not having your child listen to what you tell him to do.
While it’s true that God blessed us with wisdom and wants us to take control of our lives, there is only one thing that we can actually control, ourselves. There are 2 areas which we need to differentiate and recognize: they are areas of control and areas of concern. We can control what comes out from us, but we can only express concern for those that are beyond our control. You can’t control your children, but you can influence them. In the second part, we just have to patiently do our best to influence others and learn to trust the Lord that He will bring good results from the influence of our actions. With the proper attitude, you will be able to influence people the right way.
An example would be scolding a child. Scolding a child impatiently and telling him to stop with his tantrums will not get any results. Counting one to three is so ancient and ineffective. However, if you discipline him in the right way by setting him aside and rationally and lovingly telling him what he’s doing is wrong and that you get hurt when he does that, then the child will listen. However, right after the issue is resolved, if your child begins to request for the same thing again, you should also be firm but gentle in your decision so that the child may learn his lesson and quickly learn not to do that anymore. Loving doesn’t mean just being patient and quickly giving in just because the issue is resolved. It will not produce any permanent result. If the other person is wrong, influence him correctly so that he may learn from his mistake and not stray away from God’s ways. Children don’t listen to anger but they listen and learn through actions. If you lead them correctly with the grace of God, they will follow His ways too.
In everything we do, we should always give allowances for mistakes, for we are prone to commit mistakes, and are not computers or God. Even computers make mistakes if the humans who feed the codes make mistakes.
An antidote for impatience is trusting God. If we know that God loves us and is all-knowing and all-good, then we should learn to trust God no matter what situation we’re facing. We should be able to let go of all our fears. A lot of our impatience is rooted on fear. We get impatient with something because we fear that people might laugh at us if we fail at it. We get impatient because we fear that we won’t be be able to finish the job so our parents or family will scold us. We get impatient because we fear that we’d get embarrassed if we don’t achieve a certain thing. We get impatient because we fear a lot of people and things.
What people think about us is not really very much important. It’s what God would think about us that is. If you die today, God will not ask you how much money you made in your life, or if you have made your family financially secure, or how many cars, or what brand of cars did you own. All these things are irrelevant to God, even if it may be embarrassing to other people. Your salvation doesn’t depend on these people. It depends on how you live your life in the eyes of God, so why should you be afraid?
There is also a difference between enduring and enjoying. If you endure a suffering, you are bound to lose patience. However, if you know that God is on your side and you leave all your worries to Him, you tend to enjoy every experience that you receive whether good or bad, knowing that in the end the results will always be good.
There is a story about a couple who regularly wakes up early in the morning and prepares coffee in the kitchen. Where they prepare coffee, there is a window with a view of their neighbor’s backyard. Every morning they see their neighbor hanging what seemed to be dirty clothes on the clothesline. They start noticing this and thought to themselves why would she hang clothes if they are still dirty? Maybe she doesn’t know how to wash clothes. Months later, one morning, the couple notices that finally the neighbor’s clothes were clean. The wife said, “It’s about time! She finally learned to wash her clothes!”. The husband replied, “Not really!” When asked why, the husband told the wife that it was actually their window that was dirty and not the neighbor’s clothes.
Our “windows” might also be dirty that’s why we can’t see what we are supposed to see. We get impatient because we have so much dirt in our minds which we shouldn’t have. Unless we rid ourselves of all these dirt, we won’t be able to entrust everything to the Lord, be patient, love unconditionally and feel loved.
There are 3 major things to fight all these dirt on our windows:
1. Stop – stop whatever mistake that we usually do when we get impatient. Do not hold any grudge or anger, or act out of it. Do not make any rash judgments based on it.
2. Look for God and God’s love. Surrender any ill feelings that you might have to God, and just let go of all these. Know that God will not hesitate to help you, and that God loves you unconditionally. He will never abandon you, and has always been on your side all this time.
3. Listen for God’s instructions. Do not act out of ill feelings but rather, with God in your heart, listen to what your heart tells you to do.
You need patience to have wise actions, and you can only have true patience if you entrust everything to God, and trust in Him rather than take things into your own hands out of humanly fear, be it fear of rejection, fear of embarrassment, or anything else.