"We are young, heartache to heartache we stand.
No promises, no demands. Love Is A Battlefield."
If you're an 80's music buff, like me, you'll immediately recognize this song and recall the music video.
The music video for this song depicts the messy life of a teenager. It begins by demonstrating the volatile relationship with her parents and ends with the teen living a tough life on her own. But, in the very end she chooses to help others--to be the strong one--by leading them out of a bad situation.
It could happen like that in real life, but more than likely your life will be a little less dramatic. Mine is certainly less dramatic. However, when it comes to relationships, it seems there is always some sort of drama involved.
Loving others may involve stepping in a minefield (hurt feelings) or some verbal sparring (think flaming arrows from the tongue). There may even be an occasional sneak attack (I didn't see that coming!) or confrontational in-your-face attacks (finger pointing or accusations). Then there are the responses from the previously wounded soldier who is heavily armored and fearful (I've already been hurt) and those somewhere in the middle running interference (can't we just all get along??). It's my guess that every family get-together includes one or more of the above scenarios.
No matter how hard we try, relationships are often messy and it's not always easy to love others. It will be that way because we are imperfect, sinful people who are prone to be selfish. Me included! That self-interest causes us to turn inward and suddenly we're like a porcupine. The quills come out and hurt anybody who comes near.
Frankly, love isn't safe.
"Loving someone selflessly is often simple but rarely is it easy."
~ Gary Chapman, author of The Five Love Languages
I've been mulling over these thoughts for a few weeks and it's been interesting to see how the Lord has placed biblical teaching about love and relationships in my path. Here are some things I've learned and they apply to any type of relationship:
Feelings come and go and are very unpredictable. We can't always trust our feelings when it comes to love.
Our emotions and circumstances can influence how we love others. But, if we decide ahead of time to love with that agape kind of love and we've decided ahead of time that no matter what someone does or says, no matter how we feel at the moment about that person, we will continue to love them. Trust is built when we love consistently.
So, what does agape love really look like?
It's choosing to love that person who rejects you.
It's choosing to love that person who made a thoughtless remark that offended you.
It's choosing to love the person whose choices are very different from your own.
Please notice I didn't say you had to approve of the thoughtless remark, the rejection, or the choices made by others. Approval is different than love.
I don't know about you, but I'd prefer to be loved by choice and not based solely on an emotion.
After all, God's love is not based on emotion. God's love is consistent. I am so glad for that!
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son,
that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
- John 3:16
But God shows his love for us in that while
we were still sinners, Christ died for us. - Romans 5:8