This kind of love, the Healing Balm of Relationships
by Patrick Oben
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We have all realized that one of the most fragile issues in life we will inevitably handle is the issue of relationships. These could be between family members, friends, colleagues, church members or just neighbors in a neighborhood. The highest form of human relationship is that between a man and a woman in love with each other, exemplified in marriage. They could be more fragile than a tray of eggs or the thin envelope of an air bubble. There is an aura of bliss, heightened expectations and enthusiasm that usually crowns the birth of most new relationships but this usually fades away as the morning dew, frequently to the astonishment of the parties involved. Even most wanted relationships sometimes end up in tragedies. What makes relationships so breakable? Where does the dilemma lie, with the relationship or the people therein? Many possibilities but most fundamental to the dilemma is that we are all naturally pruned and even naturally wired to act in our best interests. A little more stretching will label this self-centeredness. This is the attitude of the natural man. The problem seems to be with the people in relationship and not the relationship itself. But most importantly, is there a healing balm for this relationship ailment? Definitely there is one.
Surprisingly, the healing balm for the relationship crises is one of the most sought after themes in the world today. It fills songs, movies, books and the like. It is spoken of every where. It is first and above all, love. Love? But... Yes, it is love though we seem to know and have so much of it around. And love is the single word that encloses not only the essential ingredient in any successful relationship but the most necessary entity for its sustenance. It may not be all that is required but it is at the core.Someone's heart may be muttering phrases like 'I know love and I know I loved him but it still went the way it happened'. Love is common but not the kind that sustains or heals relationships. It is the kind that fails. But there is a kind of love that does not fail. This is the love that is the healing balm of relationships.
Love is common,but indeed it is the love that fails. This is the love clustered around emotions. So important to note that love transcends the realm of emotions or feelings. When the actions of love like kind talking, giving of gifts or desiring to be together are prompted only when the person feels so, then that relationship is laid on a sure pavement towards failure or repeated casualties along the way. Why? It is because emotions fail. There will come a day when there will be no pleasant feeling to talk kingly and be nice to the other. That is inherent of our emotions. They can swing that much. When these emotions fail, anything that hangs on them crumbles with them. Love that is clustered on emotions flares up when they are high, crinkles when they are low and is annihilated when they vanish. We all can relate with those words of love spoken when emotions are high- honey, darling, my
great friend etc. Similarly we are acquainted with the words when emotions are low. Not to mention any of them here! There is a love that fails. It is a kind of love and unfortunately the overwhelming majority of what is called love in our world today.
Love that fails fails not only because of the inherent mutability and fragility of our emotions but also because these fragile emotions are dependent on one of the most undependable entities we know-human goodness, qualities or actions. When the actions are right, the emotions are high and the love is high. When the actions are low, the emotions follow and the love retreats. You had better not entrust the wellbeing of any relationships to any of these. How on earth can this kind of love succeed with these most fragile determinants at its very core? But wait. These two, fragile emotions and human weakness, are unavoidable and inseparable from our relationship with others. Is that right?
If there is a love that must pass the test of time and human weakness, it must exceed the realm of emotions. High emotions may not necessarily accompany all expressions of love at every time. Nevertheless, they will ultimately follow. There is a kind of love that does not fail because it is dependent on a more reliable element. Love is indeed a WAY of relating to another. It is an engagement to relate to another in a particular way, the good way- talk nicely to, always act in favor of, seek the interest of etc. Think of this. When two intend to get married, they get engaged. We could ponder again on the word "engage". Love is an engagement and commitment of oneself to treat another in a particular way. When there are no high emotions, it keeps the engagement to treat nicely. It is indeed a covenant of love ( Mal 2:14,Pr2:17). When emotions fail, the love continues. Put this love into a relationship at its onset and it will surely show its proofs. Apply it to a broken relationship and see it bring forth its healing balm.
Is this possible? Could we go beyond these issues of weaknesses of others or fragile emotions? Nice your heart probably suggest that question. It is impossible! But so with men! This is the love of God. That is the WAY He treats us and request we deal with one another. It will not be possible if we were just mere men, natural as the world around us. We are told
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away;
behold, all things are become new. 2 Cor 5:17, KJV
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye
might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 2 Pet 1:4, KJV
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by
the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. Rom 5:5,KJV
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love,
and of a sound mind. 2 Tim 1:7,KJV
With these verses, you understand the believer is carrying a divine nature and the divine love is shed in our hearts. The love is shed in our hearts so it could be shed on our spouses, friends, neighbors, etc. It would not be possible for us to show this kind of love without these prerequisites of changing us within. You cannot tell someone who does not know Christ to do this. This will only add
to his sorrows and frustrations. Furthermore, even us as believers find it a daunting task. Permit me say this, that the path to living in this kind of love is to first receive this love into our hearts. It is to know and believe in the wonderful love of God. Knowing it is a step some still need to take but is still not enough. We must know and believe it for it to have its effects on our lives.
And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 1Jn 4:16, KJV
Many have not yet fully received the unconditional love of God into their hearts and do not even realize that the love of God to them goes beyond their actions. This mentality then makes them try to become more acceptable to God by DOING the right things and feel rejected when they fail. It overflows into their relationship with the people around them. A believer's relationship with others is most often an overflow of his perceived relationship with God. It takes God revealed in a heart to show this kind of love to the people around us. Indeed, it will be one of the most challenging things you will find as regards to your Christian character. Relating to people in a way not determined by whether the thermometer of emotions reads cold or hot is the beginning of the expression of the divine nature within us as believers. It is a faithful measure of our godliness far beyond what prayerfulness or meditation or evangelism would do. It is possible or else our Lord will not request it from us. In fact He said it is a testimony to the world that we belong to Him because the
world will not find this kind of love in another place (Jn 13:35). This love is nurtured and made to grow in our hearts and character by meditating and doing the Word. But before these, the love of God must be received( 1 Jn 4:16).This is not about being saved but receiving His love for you as a believer now. You can cause it to grow in your relationships with the people around you. Ever thought of this? How does God cope with me, with the weaknesses that even shout in my ears? I think about it also. He operates on this love that
goes beyond what you do to love the person you are. In fact, we are strongly advised to abound in this for our good or else we will constantly be battling with bitterness each day except we are shut up from interacting with people, be they believers or not. We should grow in this love. It will heal homes, churches and hearts. It will heal and not hurt. We might be scared from first sight. But as it grows, it will bring healing for you and not hurt. It will bring transformation and the godliness we seek. It was the testimony of the Thessalonians Church as seen below.
We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that
your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all
toward each other aboundeth.2 Th 1:3, KJV
Celebrate the love of God!
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