Today is Valentine’s day. Candy, cards, flowers and roses have been purchased and delivered to people all over the nation. Red and pink hearts will adorn many kitchen tables. Handmade cards will be made by the hands of little people. Special dinners will be enjoyed by candlelight. “All told, Americans are planning to spend roughly $50 billion for Valentine’s Day in 2021, combining $27.9 billion on gifts and $21.9 billion on activities. ” (credit.com)
I send love to all of my blog readers.
But God’s love cannot be communicated through party supplies and Hallmark verses. His love is red, yes, but from the shed blood of His Son. This week we continue February’s focus on what love really looks like, God’s brand of love. (Part I is HERE) I will also share some additional statements from If, written by Amy Carmichael.
As Jesus has loved us, we must love others. (John 13: 34-35)
How did Jesus love us? He died on Calvary hill.
How did God love us? He sent Jesus to die on Calvary hill.
How does the Spirit lead us? To die to self and live to God.
I got nervous after last week’s post. I wondered if it felt impossible to my readers that they could love people God’s way. I thought I would share what I believe is a key component of keeping our hearts clean so God’s love can flow through us.
Process emotions well.
Some of our emotions aren’t very loving, are they? Does that mean we shouldn’t express them? I think the Bible clearly demonstrates permission to express emotion in the book of Psalms, for example. David makes some statements that make me wince, and he doesn’t sound loving toward those who hurt him. Job also complained quite a bit to God, and we don’t see God saying anywhere that Job sinned. Job had some things to learn about how to view God, but Job’s words are never criticized, only the friends advising him. (Ouch)
Process emotions with God.
Here we find the key, I think. God gets our emotions, not people. Our prayer closet is the place to get our emotions out, to express the full-depths of the pain and frustration, to speak honestly about the wrongs and rightly about the hurt.
Our prayer time is to be where we process the most heated emotions with the Lord.
Emotions are physical, which is why large emotions cause our bodies sweat, pupils to dilate, necks to blotch, hearts to race, blood pressure to spike, and tears to flow. If we don’t express our feelings, they sit in our gut and leak out through every sentence. We all know someone who is angry at an ex-spouse, for example, and evidence of a deep-seated seething occurs in all routine communication, even when someone responds to a simple matter like there being no milk for their cereal.
If we turn to people first with our initial emotional responses, we set them up to receive what only God was meant to handle, which is unfair. Instead, I believe God is to be the first recipient of our raw, untethered, unprocessed, knee-jerk emotions like those we observe in Psalms, Job and in many recorded prayers of the saints. I was thinking how Jesus repeatedly told his disciples he was going to die and rise again. Those were the facts, but as the crucifixion grew near, God was the recipient of Christ’s emotions in the garden of Gethsemane.
Do we ever tell people our emotions?
Of course we do, but only after God gets them first. When our friends are second in line, they receive people-sized amounts of emotion. This then allows them to process what they are hearing well enough to then respond with empathy and wise words instead of being overwhelmed or damaged by an onslaught none of us were built to handle.
If God gets our emotions, we can be more patient.
Our Bible tells us to respond to people …with patience, bearing with one another in love… (Ephesians 4:2), but people can be difficult, can’t they? If we are giving God all the big emotions about someone in our prayer times, then those emotions are smaller the next time we see that person face-to-face. Sure, we still find the person difficult, but the temptation to be unkind is now more reasonably sized and easier to overcome.
This week I am featuring some statements about patience with people from If. Again, Amy’s words aren’t Scripture, but she loved well. We can learn from her.
Are we patient? (Read each several times. Let each sink in.*)
If, in dealing with one who does not respond, I weary of the strain, and slip from under the burden, then I know nothing of Calvary love. (66)
If I have not the patience of my Saviour with souls who grow slowly; if I know little of travail (a sharp and painful thing) till Christ be fully formed in them, then I know nothing of Calvary love. (88)
What real love is on this Valentine’s day.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
Lord, grant us the ability to display YOUR love to the world, not ours.
Picture Explanation: One bouquet is beautiful from every angle. If each of us would love those around us like God does, the church would also be beautiful from every angle.
© 2021 by Oaks Ministries. All rights reserved.
*Page numbers are offered as they appear in my Kindle version, Generation 1.