How often have you heard the line, “If you love me, you will do _____for me.”
Really? Consider this: “If you love me, you will give up some of yourself, your freedoms, your wants and desires, to make me happy. Here’s the cage. Step inside.” Really?
I’ve heard other similar phrases. Haven’t you heard these: “if you want me to be your friend;” “if you want me to like you;” and “if you want me to play with you.”
As maturity happens, most of us move beyond this. Nevertheless, many young adults face such self-centered childish nonsense each day. Unfortunately, those that are hurting, feeling unloved, and desperate for attention often believe that lie and feel pressured to comply.
What is sometimes not understood is that this is not love. Love does not behave that way.
How does love behave? Substitute the word love for charity in the following verses:
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Notice, charity seeketh not her own. If you really care about someone, you don’t make it about yourself. Conversely, the other person also does not make it about himself or herself.
Notice the other aspects of charity or love are also not about self. Charity is longsuffering, kind, envieth not, vaunteth not or doesn’t boast, not puffed up or proud, behaves, isn’t easily provoked, thinketh no evil or thinks well of others, rejoiceth in truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, and endureth all things.
Love is about the other person and your response to them. No matter how much you love them, however, you cannot make them love you. No amount of sacrifice on your part can buy the love of another, nor should you submit yourself to the proposition of, “If you love me, you will do _____ for me. “
Consider the example of God’s love toward us.
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
God loved us first. He reached out toward us. Christ died for us. We can accept it or not, but His love is unconditional.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
This fruit of the Spirit speaks of the nature of God. It’s what the Holy Spirit produces inside of us. Since the Holy Spirit is God, we can know the love of God. We can also know how we are to love others, and how they should love us.
Today’s challenge is to consider how you love others and how others love you. Don’t mistake the offer of another to have control over you as love. It’s anything but. When a person loves you, they will not insist you do something to earn that love.