I Choose to Love by Latricia Bailey
Why do I choose to love you ask? I choose to love because God chose to love me first, and He commands us to love. I'm not talking about cute little "puppy love", but UNCONDITIONAL love. It is hard to love someone without conditions, but when you choose to do so, you gain all the benefits God intends for love to bring. What do I mean you might ask? Well let me explain.
Recently my husband and I celebrated 20 years of marriage. WOW! I can't believe we've lasted so long! All those times we could have killed one another but didn't. We made a choice. Michael Clarke-Duncan's character in the movie, "The Green Mile" said it best when he said, "They kill 'em wit they love." So true. It's even Biblical how wicked our hearts are. The Bible says,
“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.”
Jeremiah 17:9-10 NLT
Now if the very creator of our hearts and the controller of our fate commands us to love one another without condition, also warns us that our main tool we use to love one another with (our heart) is deceitful and desperately wicked, then how do we love others?
First, we must CHOOSE to love.
"But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners."
Romans 5:8 NLT
Can you imagine sacrificing your child just so some raggedy behind, stubborn, deceitful people can ĺive freely? I can't. But this same God that created people chose to love us to the point of death! Well what kind of love is this? I'm glad you asked.
"If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. 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. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless. When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely."
1 Corinthians 13:1-12 NLT
Love is patient, even when we are not. So be careful, and take it easy on one another. God has been patient with you.
Love is kind, despite the times we have been mean or nasty on purpose to each other. Be kind.
Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. So why are we bragging or thinking we are better than one another? We're not. God just hides our mess better than we do. Brag about Him instead.
Love does not demand its own way. So stop it with the childish tantrums! Why do we always think our way is best, and demand that others need to do what we say? That is selfish. Love doesn't force itself on others, isn't always, "me first". Christian love demands us to obey God's commandments. "By this we know,” writes the apostle of love, “that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey His commandments” (1 John 5:2).
Love is not irritable. Stop getting on each other's nerves and going off on one another! You don't have to have the last word--God already does. Remember that God says you have the power of life and death in your tongue, so be careful with what you say. Your words will determine the outcome of your situation.
Love keeps no record of wrongs. Stop blaming one another and keeping track. If God doesn't keep track of every single thing, you've ever done wrong, then why should you? Do you really want a spotlight on all your mess? If not, then stop shining one on others.
Love rejoices when the truth wins out. In other words, love is never happy when others do wrong, but it is always happy with the truth. It is happy because when the truth comes out, the enemy doesn't get the pleasure of seeing you suffering for his gain. Knowing the truth is freeing.
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Don't give up on love. You may have been hurt by others, burned by them, or are going through right now, but trust in God's way to love. It works because He designed it to, however, you have to choose to love according to the manufacturer's instructions. Now, if He examines our hearts and our motives, then deals with us accordingly, we don't have to handle things with others. I guarantee that His punishment is way more painful than anything we can imagine! God's love calls for repentance, and correction. His Word commands us to be honest with one another and confront sin according to His love.
So instead of "feeling" unloved or loving one another with a whole lot of bitterness, blaming, name calling, "tit-for-tat", pointing out each other's flaws, hiding the truth from one another, or thinking you are right, and they are wrong, CHOOSE to love God's way--without condition. It is the greatest way.
"And now there remain faith [abiding trust in God and His promises], hope [confident expectation of eternal salvation], love [unselfish love for others growing out of God’s love for me], these three [the choicest graces]; but the greatest of these is love."
1 CORINTHIANS 13:13 AMP
I leave you with the words of comedian, George Wallace: "I love you all, and there's absolutely nothing you can do about that!"