Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Clueless in Love

Hope, 2002
I'm a recycling nature lover, so I was thrilled when my daughter, Hope, joined Planet Patrol in 6th grade. She took it seriously, too. She didn't want us to see Roper Mountain Lights in Greenville during the Christmas holidays.  We assured her their lights burned even if we stayed home.  "But it's too much gas to drive over there."  When we considered driving to a Disney park from our hotel on vacation, Hope absolutely refused.  "That's what the buses are for."  I was proud of her, but one morning driving to school, we had an interesting conversation.

"You know what's a great idea, Mom? School buses."                                                         

"Yes, they are."

"I mean, think of all the gasoline that's saved when people ride the bus. I'm glad people ride the school bus."

"I didn't know you felt that way. You know the bus comes to our neighborhood,  and I rode the bus in middle school. Maybe you can, too."

"Oh, no.  I wasn't talking about me.  I'm not a bus rider."

I guess what's good for others is NOT good for her, completely CLUELESS.

Does "what's good for others is good for me" apply to love? Considering the love chapter, 1st Corinthians 13, I'm kind, patient, believe all things and not envious with the people I love, who happen to be the people I like, especially when they're kind and patient with me.  I only behave rudely when others are rude to me. That's love, isn't it?

Imagine the crowd of clueless faces when Jesus spoke of love.

"And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' No other commandment is greater than these."  Mark 12:31

And just as you want people to treat you, treat them in the same way." Luke 6:31

Surely he must mean treat others as they treat me.  What's good for me is good for them.  If they're rude, I should be rude or at least let everyone know about it, right?  If they lie to me, surely I can lie to them.  If they control me, shouldn't I control them?  If she gossips about me, she deserves a few slanderous remarks. Everyone else is manipulating situations to suit themselves.  Shouldn't I do the same?  If they post something negative about my school, my work, my church, or my passion on Facebook, I'm instructed to do the same, right? 

When it comes to love, I'm completely clueless. 

A few weeks ago, my pastor gave us "Occasional Important Reminders" that generated humble discussions.  Based on Titus 3:1-8, one of our reminders was to be Magnanimously Gracious People.  Magnus -great, Animus -soul & mind.  A few of his NOT TO reminders? use our words to heap abuse on people, revile people with our words, be caught up in society's drama, be contentious.  Instead, we ARE TO be peacemakers, be under control and not fearful, and be considerate of others. link to sermon Occasional Important Reminders/January 26,2014

"to malign no one, to be uncontentious, gentile, showing every consideration for all men." Titus 3:2  

Considerate of  all men, love God more than myself, love my neighbor as much as myself, and treat others like I wish to be treated?  That's a tall order. While others may think it's good to be rude, inconsiderate, or dramatic, it's not good for me.  What's good for me, to be treated with respect, love, and kindness, is always good for others.  Believer's Bible Commentary suggests that I think of how much I love myself and how much of my activity is centered around the care and comfort of myself, then try and imagine if I showered that same love on my neighbors, everyone I know.  If I think it's impossible for me, I'm absolutely right.  Remember, I'm clueless because that behavior isn't natural.  It's only possible if I ask God, who is all Love, to do this through me.

This love is only possible if He guides me to be there for others. With Him, I'm able to treat everyone as I wish to be treated.  

Happy Valentine's Day, Neighbors,