What should love look like?
Relationships play a fundamental role in all societies. If, like me, you like to watch animal documentaries, you will see very quickly that relationships form a vital part in the functioning of all living creatures too. A pack of wolves will work together to catch their prey and they will do everything in their power to survive.
Adding to this point, think about the Trinity – God three in one: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. A relationship where three are One. In this post, I’m going to talk about love and not just love in the form of a relationship leading to marriage but love in general. How do we show love to our family members? How do we show love to our colleagues? How do we love the homeless or those who are persecuted? And finally, how do we show love to those who do us wrong?
Exploration of these questions require a step into the Word of God; we must delve into the Bible if we are going to truly understand what sacrificial, grace-filled love looks like. There are so many examples of love that can explore each of these questions. I’ve decided to split this into a series (based on the questions above) so that we can fully encompass the practical ways in which we can show love.
How do we show love to our family members?
1 Corinthians 13:4-5
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.”NLT
The Bible shows us in two verses that love is concerned so deeply with us being selfless. The emotions of impatience and being proud come so easily to humans but to let that go takes a maturity and a willingness to let God shape the way you love others.
When I was thinking about how to show love to a family, I immediately thought of Joseph and then I thought of Ruth. Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers (Genesis 37:18-36). But it was all part of God’s plan and Joseph recognised this. Instead of harbouring onto bitterness, he allowed God to cultivate his character and when he revealed who he was to his brothers he said: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” (Genesis 50:20). Even after all of the struggles and hardship he faced with his brothers he was able to love – he kept no record of being wronged. Sometimes it can be hard to forgive but with God it is possible to let go and see that He allowed it for His glory.
So if you have disputes in your family, don’t worry, just love that person and ask God for the strength and grace to do so.
Then we meet Ruth, we see a family relationship between her and Naomi that is clothed with the beauty of love. Ruth refuses to leave her mother-in-law even in the face of adversity (Ruth 1:16). She was both patient and kind towards Naomi. Even when Naomi was struggling to see a positive outcome to all of her suffering, Ruth was determined to be a beacon of light. The name Ruth means ‘friend’ and she certainly was that to Naomi. This shows me that God can enable us to be salt and light within the confines of our homes as well and that our love towards our family should never be based on the condition of our circumstances. You have been placed in your family for a reason – allow them to see the beauty of Christ when they see you.
Why not go out today and tell your family members that you love them! Call those family members that you haven’t spoken to in a while and remind them how special they are.