I remember attending the funeral of the mum of a good friend. My own mum had died a few months before and it was hard listening to the hymns without bursting into tears. As I sat staring up at the beautiful stained glass in the chapel during the funeral service, I distinctly recall the priest saying: “Love is a gift from God.” I am sure we all associate God with love, but how is this love a gift especially in today’s world where the easiest thing to tell someone (especially when we are in the heat of a moment) is: “I love you!” We don’t even have to mean what we’re saying as evidenced from current divorce statistics.
But let’s examine our own relationships, especially those with our significant others. How many times has the ‘love of our life’ said or done something that greatly upset us? And how many times have we shown our displeasure by not speaking to them for extended periods of time or only offering gruff monosyllabic answers to their probing questions? What about our withdrawal actions when a family member or friend does something that truly ticks us off? Are we not showing them from this behavior that the return of our love is solely performance based i.e. if you treat me right then I’ll treat you right in return?
I believe that real love i.e. the kind where people selflessly support you, the kind that hurts when you hurt and laughs when you laugh, the kind that does not even need words because the actions say it all … this love is the gift that God gives us. God knew I didn’t want to go to the funeral but He knew I needed to let my friend know how much I loved her, to remember how much He loved mummy, and to know how much He still loves me and of course Nate. He reminded me that He is truly the only person I can depend on to love me unconditionally and forever – just as I am. Isn’t it great that God loves us in spite of our ‘performance’? He may be upset when we forget to be kind to others, worship and praise Him, give Him thanks or share His blessings but that doesn’t mean He will shut us out, not speak to us for weeks at a time, or write us off altogether.
Interestingly enough, Proverbs shares some thoughts on quarrelsome wives (as though there are no quarrelsome men!). However, let’s see if applying some basic Love Performance Management (LPM) tips can better help us keep things in perspective:
- • Acknowledge and accept God’s gift of love for you (and your partner, family, friends, etc.)
- • See this love all around you in spite of whatever challenges you may be facing at this time
- • Share this gift of love in turn with others starting with those closest to you
- • Respect others in a loving manner – express yourself in a non-threatening way, be a good listener, agree to disagree (without harming or killing anyone)
It may be hard friends, but it can be done: we can love others in spite of their “un-love able-ness” and/or “quarrelsome-ness” … who’s with me?
“A quarrelsome wife is like the dripping of a leaky roof in a rainstorm; restraining her is like restraining the wind or grasping oil with the hand.” Proverbs 27:15-16 (NIV)
“Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.” Proverbs 21:9 (NIV)
“Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.” Proverbs 21:19 (NIV)