“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5 ESV). A while ago I met a young man on the streets. I had known him for several years, and he shared with me about his daughter (he had a child with his girlfriend as a teen). As he spoke of his visitation hours, my heart went out to his daughter. I couldn’t help thinking, Why don’t people slow down in relationships and consider getting married? Don’t people believe in marriage anymore? Then I thought about what it takes for a successful, long-term marriage (or friendship for that matter). I believe the answer to this is found in the Scriptures. The Bible teaches us about our destructive sinful, selfish nature. We also receive God’s answer in how to overcome our natural inclinations through faith in Christ…in His death and resurrection. Trusting in the presence of “Christ in us” enables us to “crucify” the old nature that fights so hard to have its own way. As you know, two selfish, immature people have close to a zero chance of experiencing closeness and unity. The old selfish nature wearies itself (and distances itself from others) by the constant mantra of “my rights, my respect, and my feelings.” Lasting and satisfying relationships require mature love. God is love, and His love empowers us to banish selfishness to the rear of the bus. As Christians who possess the attitudes of Jesus, we find joy in serving others and seeing them succeed. Paul, writing to the Corinthians, reminded them of the power which love creates in order to bring unity and joy in their midst. They had issues of selfish pride which threatened to divide the church. He said, “[love] does not insist on its own way.” Could it be that the main reason we break relationships with others is because we are filled with ourselves and think only of our benefit? I’m glad Jesus wasn’t thinking about His own rights and benefits when He was crucified. The nails did not keep Jesus on the cross. His love for us kept Him there! May the Lord help us to learn how to love with His sacrificial love.
Pastor Mark Boucher