REMEMBERING WHO I LOVE (and who loves me)

Wear me as a signet ring on your heart, as a ring on your hand. Love is as overpowering as death. Devotion is as unyielding as the grave. Love’s flames are flames of fire, flames that come from the Lord. Raging water cannot extinguish love, and rivers will never wash it away. [Song of Solomon 8:6-7a (GW)]

mute swansI was right. In fact, I was so right I deserved a gold star and he was so wrong that he should have gotten a big red “F” but he never admitted it. Although I congratulated myself for not saying, “I told you so!” I still wanted him to eat a little humble pie. Then the Holy Spirit did His job and rightly convicted me of being a bit self-righteous and a whole lot mean-spirited. I was reminded of Luther, a man from our church who I called “a disciple of Christ” in a previous devotion. He always greeted people with a smile and the phrase, “Jesus loves you and I do, too.” As I heard Luther’s words in my mind, I stopped in mid-gripe and remembered that Jesus loves my man and I do, too.

I wrote the previous paragraph several months’ ago and the devotion remained unfinished in my “work on” folder until I came upon it this morning. I don’t even remember what it was that vexed me so much but I do remember how I nearly allowed Satan to drive a wedge between me and the man I love. Had I allowed it, an incident that was trivial then could have developed into something rather troubling by now. Fortunately, I chose love instead of spite. Nevertheless, I shudder at thinking how easily something so trivial could have stolen our joy for even an instant.

If I made a list of my favorite chapters in the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13 would rank way up there. No matter how many times I study it, I never tire of reading about love—not romance—but true love—love that gives of itself, overlooks, forgives and yields, love that is polite, committed, unconditional, and respectful. Love finds joy in sorrow, beauty in brokenness, hope in despair, abundance in scarcity and laughter in tears. Love blesses, honors, shares, protects and endures; it serves, cooperates, builds and trusts. When we love, we delight in one another, listen to each other, and give without expecting anything in return. Love overlooks all those petty annoyances that are part of living with someone and love certainly doesn’t waste a minute griping, nagging or serving up humble pie. Love is a choice and love always remembers that “Jesus loves you and I do, too!”

 Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, and let him make her sorry to see him leave. [Martin Luther]

Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn’t jealous. It doesn’t sing its own praises. It isn’t arrogant. It isn’t rude. It doesn’t think about itself. It isn’t irritable. It doesn’t keep track of wrongs. It isn’t happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth. Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up. Love never comes to an end. [1 Corinthians 13:4-8a (GW)]

Whoever forgives an offense seeks love, but whoever keeps bringing up the issue separates the closest of friends. [Proverbs 17:9 (GW)]

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