I wish there was another word we could use to describe the difference between what Christ-centered love is and what the world has confused love to be. But we seem to interchange them so often. Our culture pays such little respect to such a powerful word.
We put it on bumper stickers and sell it in gas stations. The word love sticks to the roofs of our mouths, and we use it readily when talking about the most mediocre things, like a cute shirt or the perfect-fitting pair of jeans. I’ll even say it when it comes to a salted dark chocolate-covered caramel. We’ve made it plastic, sterile, and insincere.
We’ve cheapened it in our search commercialize on the way it feels. In its overuse, we tend to forget the reverence the word contains. We neglect the very power that lies beneath the surface of its one small syllable...within its heartbeat.
My husband, Michael, and I have three children. Our daughter is in college, one son is a senior in high school, and we have a little guy in fourth grade. And, yes, we love our children the same way you love yours. We want the best for them, and we pray for them to have opportunities in life. However, it can be confusing in today’s society showing them the true meaning of love. We get bombarded with psychologists, news anchors, and protester signs that demand we buy into a particular kind of love — a love with no boundaries. However, unlike the TV channels that can change with a click of our remote, we have the Bible to look to for our absolute Truth. Our unchanging, steadfast, heavenly Father navigates us through the fog and into the light. God shows us what perfect love is and we can model it for our children.
There are many passages about love in the Bible, but one of my favorites that I find the most applicable in our home is: “Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end” (1 Cor. 13:4-8).
Let’s go through this passage verse-by-verse and discover how we can use it in our homes to recognize true love and guide our families to authentic Christ-centered love. Gratefully, it almost reads like a step-by-step guide. Since we’re imperfect people, and these verses are about perfect love, we’re not going to live up to these standards 100 percent of the time. But they’re a beautiful template for how we should show love to one another:
- Love is patient. We will wait on one another with a patient heart...even if we’re running late on school mornings.
- Love is kind. We will use language in our home that encourages one another and isn’t hurtful.
- Love does not envy. We will celebrate each others’ victories.
- Love is not boastful. We will show humility when things go our way.
- Love is not arrogant. We won’t brag when life is going well for us because we know that our gifts come from Jesus, not us.
- Love is not rude. We will not demean one another.
- Love is not self-seeking. We will put others’ needs before our own.
- Love is not irritable. When life has been tough, we won’t take out our frustrations on one another.
- Love does not keep a record of wrongs. When a situation is over and forgiveness has been given and received, we will not bring it up again.
- Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in truth. A sinful lifestyle isn’t God-honoring and accepting such a lifestyle isn’t love. However, we will walk alongside one another in our struggles (no matter how long it takes) and rejoice when
truthis known and sin is overcome.
- It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Our family is a safe place
tobe honest about our struggles. There is nothing in our home that can’t be overcome together with Christ. We can handle all the mess the world has to throw at us.
- Love never ends. Our relationships are solidly built on a biblical love that will withstand hardships and valleys. Miles may come between us, and we may disagree on certain things, but love will always remain. “Now these three
remain:faith, hope, and love—but the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor. 13:13).
This article is adapted from HomeLife Magazine.