“My command is this: love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (Romans 15:12-13; NIV)
I am not an expert on matters dealing with feelings and concepts. But the idea of love as a concept fascinates me. The above verse when read starting from verse 10 speaks of something beyond the superficial, it a sublime life story of a man, who choose to die for His friends. A man who thought his friends worthy, willingly sacrificed himself for them.
I once heard a story of man who constantly was filled with jealousy and rage over his wife’s beauty the he constantly accused her of infidelity. And daily she would tell him, “I married you, it is you I love”. As the story has it, one day he returns home from work meets his wife and daughter in the living room chatting away. He requests to speak with her in the room. She walks in and he shuts the door, opens his brief case and brings out a small bottle. He empties the contents of the bottle on his wife; her face disfigured for life from that acid bath. And years and years after when the little girl is older, the man who walked out of the house after the act of cruelty sends a letter to the family he hurt and abandoned. He is alone now, dying of cancer, he begs his wife to let him come home, that she might take care of him. His daughter now narrating this story cannot comprehend her mother who is willing to take the man back.
I think this is what love is; Loving those that do not deserve it; loving those who hurt us and spitefully use and abuse us. It’s like we can comfortably say, loving is not what we do when it’s comfortable and acceptable; it’s most powerful when we love those who do not deserve it.
Christ was careful to answer the question of which was the the most important commandment. He said ,”love the Lord the God and the second is like it, love your neighbour as I have loved you. On this two all the other commandments stand”.
Apostle Paul, in his First epistle to the corinthians defines love with this simple everyday words: “love is kind…it is not self seeking, it keeps no record of wrong. (13:4,5; NIV). He further explains the characteristics of love in this verse, “beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things” (7; KJV).
In the reality of it, it is almost impossible to love. Even when you are able to transcend your self, and become effacing, putting the other first (Phil 2:3-4), people will still doubt you, and “perceive” that you as having an ulterior motive
Take this personal situation for instance.
I called a friend and after quick pleasantries, said she was in the middle of something and would call me back in ten -twenty minutes. She called back 10-15 hours later apologising. My, “it’s not a big deal” feed back got her vexed. She was expecting that I’d be crossed at her. Any right thinking person, would have thought, she got so busy and forgot. She thought I took offence and was not happy that I was not saying my mind.
The cruelty that lurks the reality of our daily existence makes it seem so unnatural to be kind. Kindness is rare. Its almost like contrarieties; Human being and kindness. But we cannot allow society define us. Our relationship with God should define how we relate with others, not the other way round. I know people who are loving, people who would go the whole nine yards when you have only asked for a walk across the lawn and they would do it over and over, even when it is most uncomfortable. Friends should love regardless; brothers should give without expectation because that is the example God set, and Jesus followed suit.
This is the conclusion of the matter, quoting Tim LaHaye, “Love cannot simple wait to give”.
My friend said to me a couple of weeks ago “don’t bring God into everything”. We were talking about his Business Ventures and a career path for him.
I have not been able to put that statement to rest. It keeps coming back to me.
I can’t remember how I replied him, but I know I said something like we could not leave God out.
As I keep thinking about it, I realise that his statement was was an echo; a reverb. He was speaking his mind, but he echoed the minds of many others.
Can I leave God out of anything? No I can not. He is in everything. Everything was created by Him. It would be foolhardy to try and take the creator out of the creature and expect that I would get full expression from the creature.
Let me rephrase, when a person does not acknowledge God as an integral part of their relationship with people or events or things, they are bound to receive less than it meets their desires.
The full expression of an individual’s ability is only attainable when he is aware and walks in the knowledge of the God factor.
You see, this my friend was at a cross Road; he was making an important life decision. What to do with his life? And he wanted to leave The Giver of Life out of the decision making process. It/he would have been disaster. He was about to do a trial an error test; an open window to frustration.
Actually, my friend is aware of the God factor, but like many in his shoes, he is not ready to walk in that knowledge.
When you are aware of the “Boss” status of a person and fail to align or submit your self to his authority, you would have declared yourself an antagonist of him.
If you know God is LORD, and don’t submit your self to his Lord ship you are walking on ice.
Not able to recollect the things I said, I have decided to share some of what I remember and a bit of additions.
I said “make your decisions but lay them before God. And if you are not sure which is which, lay it all before Him and ask for guidance. This means you would pray. Pray like your answer depends on it, because it does. In addition you would align your self with him. Let Him mentor you; show you things. Study His life and see how you can begin to be like Him. His life you would find in the Bible.
And above all make yourself worthy of the friendship you desire. Let your character be like His.”
He went “Seun, I pray. I read my Bible when I can.”
That’s the thing. Then God would answer you when He can. He would be available to you when He feels so.
I wanted to tell him, you haven’t been able to keep a steady relationship in six years, because you don’t put your girl first. And then you think The God who created the girl who left you because, you put her second place would answer to your one minute grunts. Hian! I did not. I could not. I would have missed the opportunity.
So I said to him you know how you were crossed with Ope ( not real name) cos she was seeing someone else, while she was with you. You thought she was not serious. And you walked away. And then when you met Titi ( NRN), she would complain about how you don’t make time for her. You only see her when you are on your home from having been with us all day.
“What does this have to do with what we are talking about”
Ignoring His question I went on. You left Ope because she was not into you. She only liked the idea of being with someone all her friends were talking about. You left Titi cos she was asking to be first and not second fiddle to you and your guys. And you could not stand being with Toby anymore because she was not honest about certain things in the beginning of your relationship. I paused, trying to catch my breath.
“IGE, IGE why you dey quite now” came through.
I answered, God wants the same things the girls I mentioned (to name a few) wanted and what you too wanted from Toby.
1. A real relationship. One that pleased both partners.
2. First place. Not second. Not,when-I-am-going-to-bed relationship. Priority status.
And 3. Honesty. No lies, no games. Straight and straight all through.
Checking to see if I was speaking to myself, I asked, “what do you think?”
He sighed. So I continued, “take sometime this week and weigh your options. If you think you can adjust and make things right with God, good for you. You are the one who needs adjusting not God. You. But this time, you are lucky.
I heard him ask “lucky, how?”
Taking my time, I said, “God is patient. He is willing to help work on your relationship with him. He understands.”