“Just as the body requires oxygen to stay alive, so love is necessary for relationships to thrive.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – February 8, 2021
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor. Romans 12:10, NASB
Just as the body requires oxygen to stay alive, so love is necessary for relationships to thrive. A relational love deficiency causes ill emotional health and can lead to relational death. The apostle Paul, the brilliant teacher of the early church, gives us the prescription of love for ongoing and growing relational health. His focus is on affectionate and respectful love. Followers of Jesus are born into a family of faith with the opportunity to love our brothers and sisters with an affectionate love of kinship and a respectful love of honoring others above themselves. So, let’s look closer at these two types of relational loves we are commanded to show to one another.
Affectionate Love “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).
Affectionate means indicating love by being tender like the affectionate care of a parent. We extend heartfelt care and concern that makes a person feel loved as they need to be loved. We are not preoccupied with our own desires and agenda, but we put ourselves in the shoes of the other needy soul, with a heart full of compassion and mercy. Love looks beyond someone’s bad decisions, even an ongoing lifestyle of foolishness and instead loves him where he is with a heart to love him toward the Lord’s loving heart. Affectionate love forgives with a Christ-like capacity. Kindness is the ever present approach needed to grow relationships, as love gives emotional life. Affectionate love is not limited to believers, but is also attractive to unbelievers. Unbelievers act like unbelievers, so extra grace is required to pray them into God’s good graces. Love forgives.
Respectful Love “Don’t let selfishness and prideful agendas take over. Embrace true humility, and lift your heads to extend love to others. Get beyond yourselves and protecting your own interests; be sincere, and secure your neighbors’ interests first” (Philippians 2:3-4, The Voice).
Paul explains the way to love a person with respect is to honor her above myself. I defer my wishes to her wishes. I seek first to understand her way of thinking, before I persuade her to understand my perspective. It’s one thing to defer to a doctor’s diagnosis over my self-evaluation, since she is an expert in her field, but it’s a whole other level of respect to not demand my way of doing things, instead deferring to your way of doing things. I honor a friend when I listen more than I talk, I give more than I receive and I pray more for—than I request prayer. Respectful love means I accept your relational boundaries, I honor you by not taking advantage of your time, and I embrace your approach to safety and security related to a global pandemic. Respectful love means I want what’s best for you, and I want you to be God’s best version of yourself, not mine.
“All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5).
Heavenly Father, grow my heart of affectionate and respectful love, in Jesus’ name, amen.
What relationships need an extra dose of my unconditional love?
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