Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: On Love


God is Love

A devotional by Christa MacDonald


“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 
– 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV)

It’s February and by now you’re probably a little sick of love. Valentine’s Day with its pink and red excess means an onslaught of bad takes on love. When you read the above verses, you get the BIble’s take on love, and it’s the best one.

Another solid take is “The Four Loves” by C.S. Lewis. One of my favorite quotes from it is, “To love at all is to be vulnerable.” The entire passage is wonderful, but that first line has some deep wisdom in it. Love is by nature, sacrificial. It’s also sacred.

Our culture talks a lot about love, but it tends to be the sort that’s a pale imitation of the real thing. It’s sugar-coated and dishonest. Think about that line from the movie Love Story: “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”

Right. That’s not how it works. We’re humans and therefore sinners. We’re going to make mistakes. We’re going to hurt each other. The very act of loving someone guarantees you will experience pain at some point.

When someone hurts you, really breaks your heart, the temptation is to hold onto that pain. We tend to revisit old wounds, proudly bearing our scars as if they are badges of courage. They make us tougher and they make our hearts harder. Resentment and bitterness slip in while we’re not paying attention and, before we know it, love is impossible.

God perfectly loves us. We, in turn, start sinning against Him from nearly the moment we are born. If He can offer us forgiveness in the depth of our sin, how can we withhold it from someone we love?

Forgiveness drives out bitterness. They can’t occupy the same space. But, what if the person who hurt you is unrepentant? Forgive them. What if they do it again? Forgive them. That doesn’t mean that you stand still while they pummel you. It’s right and good to create safe distance between yourself and someone hurting you, emotionally or otherwise. But forgiveness sets you free.

Someone I once loved hurt me profoundly. It took years to let go of those scars. Part of the process was acknowledging the pain, believing that what had happened to me was wrong and that while what I was feeling was only natural, it needed to end. I thought of how God loves us, the mountains of sins He forgives. This person never asked for my forgiveness, never acknowledged their harm, but it didn’t matter. As God forgave me…It took time, but I was finally able to forgive the past and let it go. The scars are probably still there, but they’re a reminder, a caution, not a pool of resentment and bitterness that I draw on.

The world will tell you to hold onto your pain, to let love be a shallow, temporary thing. Remember what The Holy Bible says in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and what love really is...After all, God is love.

~*~
Author Bio:
Christa MacDonald is a 2017 ACFW Carol Award finalist for contemporary Christian fiction.

A native New Englander, she was inspired by her travels through the north woods of Maine to write The Broken Trail, which would become the first in the Sweet River Redemption series published by Mountain Brook Ink.

Christa's writing focuses on the real-life challenges of the modern world; love’s sometimes crooked path, and the redemptive power of Grace.

When not working or writing Christa can be found ferrying her kids around, reading, or attempting something crafty.

She and her husband live with their three kids, two cats, and one dog along the coast of New England. Connect with Christa at www.christamacdonald.com.

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