Why It’s Important to Love Right

Most of us are pretty confident that love makes the world go ‘round. Love causes movement. It changes things. It creates! It makes things infinitely better than they could ever be without it. Love is easy, but our specialty as human beings is to make things far more complicated than they need to be, and so it is with love. We’ve tried to make different forms and types of it, compartmentalized it, and we’ve even tried to lock it away in our hearts for safe keeping, but as much as people have tried, love is a treasure that can’t be corrupted or made to be something that it isn’t. It comes from our Creator. He’s the Originator of love, and it isn’t just what He does, it’s who He is.

1John 4:8(NLT) tells us, “But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” The number of folks that have put their own spin on this verse are too numerous to count. This verse doesn’t mean just because a person has the capacity to love someone, that they know God. In the context of this verse, love has a higher definition than most of us are willing to acknowledge; this little thing called ‘arrogance’ keeps getting in our way. Love involves sacrifice. We learn this lesson from our Master Jesus, who when asked by Heavenly Father for volunteers to rescue humanity, he said, “I’ll go, Father! Send me!”

Love for the Father, and love for us led to the unselfish sacrifice that Jesus Christ made, and it is this love that sets the standard. It is the love of which 1John 4:8 refers. Through the Spirit of Christ, this same love is in us. It’s not the ooey gooey, butterfly churning, goosebumps popping sensation we get from being in the company of a Boo. That adds a sweet savor to life, but its’ aroma often fades quickly. The love of God in Christ is a transformative power that is at the core of our being through God’s Spirit. The discipline of self-sacrifice unleashes it. So, when you and I attempt to love without a willingness or understanding that we will most likely have to give up the thing we believe we deserve, our aim misses the mark of the love of God. He will not punish us for our motivations, however askew they may be. Instead, He will aid us.

Jesus Christ said in Revelation 3;20(NLT), “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” This is the heart of the Father. He’s knocking at the door of our hearts, wanting us to invite Him in through the Lord Jesus Christ, but there are more of us who refuse to let Him in than those who do. We don’t allow God to help us develop well-formed love. Because of this, we become confused by our own stubbornness and refusal to be in alignment with the love of God. Love, then becomes for us a kind, mushy, but selfish desire that is wrapped in affection, tied to conditions, and completely motivated out of the flesh. Operating this way runs counter to the very reason we were born.

God tells us in Proverbs 3:5-6(NKJV), “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Heavenly Father is the One that does the directing, not us. He has set us apart for His divine purposes, and if we don’t allow Him to direct us, things like jealousy, obsession, desperation, and other remnants of fear can cause us to betray our identity.

Anytime that we make the practice and commitment of love more about what we can get instead of what we can give, we draw to us like a magnet individuals who will feast on our wrong desires. Love is and will forever be the barometer that measures how closely we align ourselves to the purpose for which God has created us. He sets the path that is laid before us all, and love keeps us on it. When we begin to love ourselves enough to make fulfilling our destiny in Christ our number one objective, God’s love is operating within and we’re loving the right way. We can then begin to build a momentum where God’s love propels us, and it will bring all the right resources and relationships across our path.■

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

“Why It’s Important to Love Right” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2020. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

All Things Are Possible with God

“I don’t want to leave my husband! I just want him to stop hurting me!”  This is what a family friend shared over the holidays. A lot of people will hear a statement like this from a woman in an abusive marriage and think “Why doesn’t she just leave him?” But those that have been in an abusive relationship can understand what she is going through. The person that is now causing her so much pain wasn’t always that way. They were high school sweethearts and got married immediately after graduating high school. With over twenty years under their belts and three children together, leaving the marriage feels to her like the unthinkable.

When the life that you’ve built surrounds and anchors the lives of children, decisions are often complex and extremely consequential. Even in the best situation, the fabric of lives can be very fragile, and if abuse in any form is a part of the equation, that fabric is already unraveling. In the beginning, my friend didn’t tell anyone that her husband had started to say hurtful and demeaning things to her, even in front of their kids. The physical abuse started when the arguments became more frequent, and her husband started slapping her face when things got heated. Then, one evening he came home late, and when she said something about it, his anger became out of control. He wouldn’t stop hitting her and their oldest son jumped in to defend his mom.

Domestic violence and abuse is defined as violent or aggressive behavior within the home, typically involving the violent abuse of a spouse. But we know that it also happens in relationships between couples that are not married. Instances of abusive behavior is increasing among teens dating in high school and on college campuses as well. I recall a few instances of hearing about dorm-mates and other young women that were in abusive relationships when I was in college. I imagine there were many other cases of abuse where these women suffered in silence, too afraid to tell anyone about what was happening.

If it were as simple as just walking away, the instances of domestic violence and abuse would not be increasing at the rate it is. But we’re talking about patterns of behavior that are deeply rooted in both the victim and abuser, and when we’re stuck in patterns that are destructive to our souls, it is unquestionably a kind of bondage.  

None of us have it all together, and when it comes to someone taking the power that God has given us or our giving it up to them so freely, we need the kind of internal strength and help that only the Lord can provide. All of us are broken inside in some way. We can’t fix ourselves. It is impossible for any of us to come to Jesus Christ as perfect human beings. It doesn’t work that way. He tells us in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me!” We are to come as we are, broken and all, because only Jesus Christ can do a work on the inside of us through his Spirit.

Galatians 5:1(MSG) tells us, “Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.” This is exactly what an abusive relationship is—it’s a harness of slavery, designed to steal our joy and power so that we feel hopeless and helpless. We don’t have to live that way, because Jesus Christ has set us free to live a free life. He will help us take a stand if we will give ourselves to him completely. A victim may be financially dependent on their abusive partner. Without money, or even a place to go, it can seem impossible for them to leave the relationship, but Jesus Christ said in Matthew 19:26 that with God all things are possible.

My friend is struggling to do what is right for her family. Her husband is not who he used to be, and only God knows why. We can never know what is in another person’s heart or why they harbor such anger, but God doesn’t want anyone to be abused. It’s not His Will. He also doesn’t want any child to witness or be involved in the abusive relationship of their parents. We must pray to Him in the powerful name of Jesus Christ, because God can and will help! For any person that is dealing with an abusive partner, know that God wants to rescue you and the very first step towards being free is believing that through Him, it is possible.■

Scripture quotations marked MSG are taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

“All Things Are Possible with Godwritten by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2018. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!olved Mentio