True Love

BibleInPoems, Ron Calugar, 2015001

INDEX


I prayed, God give the love back. I miss the ecstasy.
I miss the hugs and kisses. The way you looked at me.

I wanted to roll back the clock, to the day that we first met.
When we went out I never thought that this is what I'd get.

Now we argue every day. We can't seem to agree.
We stay married for the children. Are you still glad we have three?

I want the fun we used to have. I want the long embrace.
I want that fuzzy feeling that put dimples on my face.

Then God said, I've heard your wishes, and love is not your quest.
It's all about just what you want. You're steeped in selfishness.

I can bring the hugs and kisses back. I can spark the ecstasy.
I can make your marriage fun again, but you'll have to love like me.

You pray for lust not love. For you, you choose to live.
Love isn't what you get for you, love is in what you give.

Remember when you started love? I let you have a peek,
at what true love was really like, in the way you think and speak.

It was all about your lover. You always put them first.
You spoke in just the kindest words. You nere complained or cursed.

Those things gave you great pleasure. You did them all for you.
You thought you did them for your love, 'till you wore off all the new.

You want it back? You can have it. Not a peek, but a whole new way,
of treating all around you. Now let's start again and pray.

God please give me the love you have. Let me always live for thee.
Please let me love like Jesus loves. Not, what's in it for me.

Let me love my spouse unselfishly in all I say and do.
Let them see Jesus in my life. I want to be like you.


What is true love?

When a relationship begins there is ecstasy. Each person is putting on their best. Never is a cross word spoken. No one has a temper. Neither party must have it their way. Each is polite and appreciative of the other. Men suddenly quit belching and otherwise passing gas. Women have no aches, pains, headaches or bad hair days. Even the monthly grouchiness and discomfort are gone in a new relationship.

Neither asks the other party for anything. Everything is freely given. Suddenly a guy's boat is unimportant. His car is mere transportation. Home is just a place to abide. He never even knows the woman has her hair done. It's just always like that. There are no expenses or bills. They are never mentioned or complained about. If money is not spent it is not needed. No one asks for more because everything is perfect just as it is.

Life is perfect. Sex, which God says is to be reserved for marriage, is for many indulged in with impunity and it is amazing. God must be in left field somewhere out of touch with reality. Few consider or care that reality is what is out of touch with God. The physical attraction is so powerful each party is sure it could never end. Reality is completely replaced with the fantasy of everlasting bliss, in a life where both parties are completely focused upon each other. If the lovers are older and children are involved, often this focus on each other is so powerful it appears to result in the neglect of children.

I do not mean the children are actually neglected. I mean the children, who may otherwise be in need of constant attention and indulgence, now are quite content in the eyes of both parties to take a back seat every couple of days while the man and woman focus on each other alone. It's OK to go on dates every few evenings while the children are left with sitters at home or by themselves if they are old enough. The children complain that their parent is gone too much but they are being unreasonable. The parent deserves happiness and romantic pursuit. The children must learn to accept this as part of life. Budgeting time for the lovers, as it should be in marriage, is not nearly the impossible issue it will be later when they actually are married, and pretend not to have time for each other.

So the relationship grows without conflict. It thrives in a balance which allows the parent to care for family and still focus upon the object of their love and affection. It is free of complaining, bickering, resentment, selfishness, and physical malady. Each party is that careful to consider the comfort and happiness of the other. Each protects the other's reputation. Neither ever says a cross word to or about the other. Each brags on the other, casting their lover in the best possible light.

How could this not work?

Actually, this is the only thing that can work. This is a description of true love. Love is kind, and seeks to make the other happy rather than it's self. Love behaves it's self in a considerate manner. Love is not easily angered. Love endures anything. Love does not focus on it's self or it's desires but rather the desires of the other.

Love is the foundation a home must be built upon and upon which it must continue to rest if it is to survive. To most, love is a fantasy, an impossible dream that is experienced momentarily in a flawed and temporary way that crashes and burns because it is not true love.

A new relationship with all of it's bliss is the picture of sacrificial love, but it is not love. It lacks some things that will make or break the relationship. From the human perspective it lacks conflict. It has not yet been put to the test. It is not yet an indication of selflessness.

Love suffers long and is kind. The new relationship has not yet suffered at all.

As the months pass, marriage ensues and the lovers are more comfortable with each other. Minding the details is not nearly so important. The mate knows we are not that perfect. Guys go back to their rude habits and women complain about their aches and pains. Getting through the monthly period is no longer something hidden. In fact, now it is "his" responsibility too.

During the initial romantic fantasy phase each party had forgotten that they exist in the bliss of focusing upon the other. Now the man realizes that the boat seats need recovering and the car transmission slips, and the wife, even the most unselfish who are not fixated upon things for themselves, want new clothes and shoes for all the children, along with new bicycles, book bags, furniture, and bedroom colors.

Over the next several months the focus this couple had for each other drifts to his hobbies and career and her homemaking or career. After all, every one enjoys his boat and he must provide a home and a living. His focus is completely justified. And what could be more unselfish than her caring for the children and keeping the home properly furnished?

As the years pass she gives in to him. If he is a rare unselfish man without toys he must still give himself to bringing home the paycheck. Why should she not put up with his constant absence? After all, he is a good provider. If he is like most men it's not just his job, he must also have his bigger screen TV, his video games, his fishing and hunting equipment. In short, his toys. If she is a rare unselfish woman without a clothes, shoes, jewelry or make-up addiction to incite financial conflict, she may still resent that the children are wearing last years shoes while he is casting this years fishing line.

He buys her that sofa, but he resents doing so. It is not like the other was unusable and the children walk all over the new one anyway.

These little resentments build up. Each is like a grain of sand. Each is almost insignificant, but one day these two former lovers notice a mountain is between them. A mountain of resentment. A mountain of I did this your way and what did I get for it? A mountain of look what I gave up for you.

Men, you may think your aspirations for the job and house are altruistic. They may be your ambition, but you do it all for the family. They are good aspirations, honorable and unselfish, even though the wife disagrees about their value compared to the children's needs.

Wives, you are sure that you are far more unselfish. You want the children to have the best clothes, toys and if teens, cell phones and cars. The wife may not ask for hardly anything for herself. She is all about the children. It is the selfish man who is causing all the problems.

Each spouse has reason to believe they are unselfish, but the truth is, both are extremely selfish, and both shifted the emphasis from where God ordained it. You see, we do not get to pick what our highest priority is in life. Once we say, "I do," God has already picked our number one priority, and we can not put God first while changing His priority for a marriage.

The children are her hobby which gives her the unselfish claim advantage. The home and job, are his hobby and he believes they are essential to caring for his children.

Both are right and both are wrong. Both are selfish in the pursuit of what they want regardless of whether they want it for themselves or for the children.

Now listen closely and you will see, the line is not as fine as it may seem. Listen. Once the basic needs for survival are met and the focus is shifted to elective choices, insistence upon what you believe to be important is an exercise in selfishness even if you want it for someone else.

Our love has suffered long, but it has suffered. We have begun to seek our own rather than the other. Love bears all things and we have born just about enough. Now the resentment mountain causes a tiny, insignificant silly conflict to blow up into a mighty rage. We look so stupid being upset about such a trivial matter. We even wonder ourselves how we could react so intensely about something so silly, but it is not that tiny conflict that is causing the rage. It is that mountain of resentment. That silly conflict is a spark that set off the resentment explosion.

What happened? We don't love each other any more. Close, but not accurate. Let's say it the right way. We never loved. God says. Listen, God says, love never fails.

Did we ever love each other? How did we treat each other with such love when we began only to have such resentment now?

When a relationship begins the warm and fuzzy chemical factory goes into high gear. Our bodies, our brains, everything about us experiences an irrational exuberance. But we are not the givers. We are the recipients. Every action, every sacrifice, every gift, every consideration we give to that person we love gives us mental, emotional and physical pleasure and we love that ecstatic feeling. It is the most amazing counterfeit in the universe. It carries all the earmarks of true love, but it is largely and often totally selfish. It is self-fulfilling. The worst part. It is very temporary. A couple of years at most. For the majority it lasts only a few months. It has very little to do with love and a whole lot to do with lust.

If there is any redeeming quality to this counterfeit love it is that it gives us a glimpse of true love. True love wants only the best for the other person. If you want less than that for your spouse you do not love. True love wants to lift up, praise, bring honor to the other person rather than itself. If you want recognition, acceptance and praise for your self rather than your spouse, you do not love. Have you ever put your spouse down or said something negative about them to someone else? If so, you love yourself rather than your spouse. You are more concerned about being cast in a good light than making your spouse look good. You are selfish and do not know love.

But why all the focus on the spouse? Because the marriage relationship is not man ordained. It is God ordained. Once you promise your choice of first responsibility is out of your hands. You don't get a choice after you say, "I do." Your partner is God's plan for you. You love your partner or you say no to God, and you can not love your partner unless you say yes to God. Only God can enable you to love. I have no more choice as to who I must first love. My wife has that place and I can do nothing about that except choose to obey God or I tell God, He can take a hike. The moment I ask, "what is in it for me?" or say, "I'm not happy any more," I prove I have no love. I prove God is not the Lord of my life. I prove I am selfish. If I love I am not in it for me. I am in it for Jesus Christ and my love is His supernatural doing, not the result of my human capability.

That does not mean I am always happy with my spouse. In fact anger is a Godly trait. God gets angry. You can provoke God. But being provoked at my wife does not replace or even diminish my love for her if my love is God's love and not my selfish emotion..

God does not say love can not be provoked. God says love is not easily provoked.

It takes a lot to make true love angry. It is possible for a spouse to be so unrelenting in their unkindness, their maliciousness, their unreasonableness and their selfishness that the one who loves can be provoked to anger, but love must be pushed to great limits to get angry. God gets angry, but God says do not stay angry. God says, get over it quickly. Do something about it. Reconcile. Do you easily get angry at your spouse? Do you stay angry? If so, you do not love.

There is another relationship that gives us a glimpse of what true love is like. Remember, as we look at true love that true love is what we should have for our spouses. Do you have this kind of love for your spouse? It is the love parents have for their children. Especially little children. Consider your love for your baby child. An infant who has not yet learned rebellion. A very young toddler who is completely innocent. That bubbly, cuddly, smiling, ever dependent little one whom you love to take up in your arms and adore is really a completely selfish entity. That innocent toddler never thinks about what you need. Everything is all about them and what they want. They can offer nothing and they need everything. If they don't get what they want right now, they let out a scream. Yet we love them unconditionally and will do anything GOOD for them. And if we love, to their dismay we tell them NO about everything bad for them. That is a glimpse of true love.

The truth is, we get much of that warm, fuzzy, selfish satisfaction out of caring for an infant or toddler and though it gives us a glimpse of true love, it is still not, in most cases, true love.

You may say, but I can't love my spouse like that. You don't know my spouse. All you see is their church face. You don't see them at home.

Hebrews 12, challenges us to "consider Jesus, who suffered such contradiction of sinners against himself." Though Jesus despised the shame, He endured the cross. He suffered long for those He loves. Even though we disappoint Him, let Him down, deny Him, sin against Him, crucify Him, He says, Father, forgive them.

Love is not that satisfaction enjoyed when cuddling with a cute, adorable infant. Love is not that warm, fuzzy, exhilarating, ecstatic, seemingly self-sacrificial feeling a new romantic relationship produces. These only give us a glimpse of what love is like.

Love is when that person you live with puts you down, defies you, says and does things that are mean, hateful and deliberately spiteful against you because they disagree with you, and your heart melts with compassion as you wish you could sweep them up in your arms and care for them and kiss the hurt away and give them joy. Love is not motivated by grudges, revenge, or retaliation. Love never wishes to get even. Love only loves. Love never fails.

That does not mean you indulge a selfish spouse or support a spouses unreasonable or sinful habits. God doesn't give us every thing we want. But there are two ways to say no. One conveys disdain, the other exudes love. If your spouse, your child or your friend is sure you disdain them, mark it down, you telegraphed that attitude and you can change what you telegraph. Do you want to display love or disdain? Are you selfish or not?

First, if we do not love, we need to know that we do not love. We need to stop pretending and fooling ourselves. Remember, "trying" to love will not work. Imitating love in an effort to love will not work. Love is humanly impossible. Love is contrary to our nature. Love is completely unselfish. Love makes no sense. Love is a supernatural attribute of God. Only God is love.

If you do not want God, you can not have love. To love, you must focus on wanting what God wants. As John the baptiser said, "He must increase and I must decrease." John the disciple declared, "Love is of God. Everyone that loves is born of God and knows God. He that loves not knows not God. God is love."

It is impossible to love your spouse without loving God. It is impossible to love anyone without God. It is impossible to be motivated by anything other than selfishness without God. It is a narrow gate and few there be that find it. Chances are, you do not love and you do not want God. I'm sorry. That is just statistics. Jesus said most people don't want God. So I ask, are you one of the few who will say, I want what God wants? I want to love unselfishly. I want God's will to increase and my will to decrease.

Parents, we need to demonstrate love and teach our children to love. That does not happen by smiling when everything is going perfectly. That happens when our spouse disappoints us and the children see it and know it and cringe in anticipation of what is coming, and then we treat that offending spouse with kindness. That shows our children unselfish, supernatural love. If you do not demonstrate and teach your children love they will ultimately live in selfishness. Children do not love by default. Even a baby will grab what it wants with no consideration for anyone including you, mom. If your child is too young to show you how selfish he or she is, just wait. Children will be the opposite of love unless we teach them to love. Children are braggards always seeking their own, always vaunting themselves. They are selfish, constantly thinking about what they want next. This is not unfamiliar to you. Children are born innocent but not without a sin nature. We are sinners by default.

When was the last time you taught your children to sacrifice? No wonder we keep raising generations who forget God. We indulge children, rather than teach them to give.

We praise children constantly rather than teach them humility. Then we are shocked when they grow up selfish, rebellious, and unable to sustain a lasting relationship.

We can not teach our children to love until we learn to love. Pray. Ask God to give you the supernatural attribute of love.

Don't pray for lust. Most Christians pray that God will give them the lust back. They pray for the warm and fuzzy; the puppy love feeling; the wonderful sex; the tingling sensation when they kiss. They want the "what's in it for me" back. We need to quit praying for lust and begin praying for love.

If Jesus had to pray that God would give Him love for mankind back what would Jesus pray? Father I miss the walks in the garden in the cool of the day. Father give me the warm and fuzzy back. Or would Jesus pray, Father, not my will, but thine be done. Would his sweat fall as it were great drops of blood as He contemplated the sacrifice He would make for us because He so loved the world that he gave?

Do you want God's love? Remember, you will not ask, "what is in this for me?" You will ask, "what can I give?" When you are wronged or hurt, you will not seek revenge or retaliation. You will respond with kindness and compassion. Now think about this honestly. How do you generally respond? What is your knee jerk reaction to an insult? Do you retaliate with a cutting remark practically unable to refrain yourself? Your love for your spouse must be unconditional. Never measured by what is done for you. Always focused upon what you can do for them for Jesus' sake.

We need to quit playing games. Let's quit settling for warm and fuzzy. Call it like it is. You either want God and love, or you don't.

Are you sure love is what you want? If not. You do not want God. Most people don't. I dare say, most "Christians" don't. That is why Jesus questioned, "Will I find faith when I return?"

If you do want love you can only have it by drawing close to God. Denying yourself. Taking up your cross. Following Him.


========================

I prayed, God give the love back. I miss the ecstasy.
I miss the hugs and kisses. The way you looked at me.

I wanted to roll back the clock, to the day that we first met.
When we went out I never thought that this is what I'd get.

Now we argue every day. We can't seem to agree.
We stay married for the children. Are you still glad we have three?

I want the fun we used to have. I want the long embrace.
I want that fuzzy feeling that put dimples on my face.

Then God said, I've heard your wishes, and love is not your quest.
It's all about just what you want. You're steeped in selfishness.

I can bring the hugs and kisses back. I can spark the ecstasy.
I can make your marriage fun again, but you'll have to love like me.

You pray for lust not love. For you, you choose to live.
Love isn't what you get for you, love is in what you give.

Remember when you started love? I let you have a peek,
at what true love was really like, in the way you think and speak.

It was all about your lover. You always put them first.
You spoke in just the kindest words. You nere complained or cursed.

Those things gave you great pleasure. You did them all for you.
You thought you did them for your love, 'till you wore off all the new.

You want it back? You can have it. Not a peek, but a whole new way,
of treating all around you. Now let's start again and pray.

God please give me the love you have. Let me always live for thee.
Please let me love like Jesus loves. Not, what's in it for me.

Let me love my spouse unselfishly in all I say and do.
Let them see Jesus in my life. I want to be like you.



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