Julian and I were having a little conversation this morning before he went to work. It was an innocent discussion about a challenging situation we were facing. Then suddenly my husband made a matter-of-fact comment as to what he considered would be the perfect way to “fix” the problem.
Husbands are funny that way aren’t they? When a problem arises, the first thing they think is, “fix it,” well, my husband does anyway. His opinion of a “fix” horrified me, and I made sure to tell him too. I twisted my face up in a manner that clearly showed my disdain for his idea (I’ve learned that men are very visual creatures.) and then proceeded to use my high, squeaky, urgent voice (Because I know how effective that is too.) and spewed out how awful it would be if his plan were to happen.
Okay I admit it; I got a little worked up over his comment, sometimes I can be just a bit melodramatic. And now that it’s over, he admits he doesn’t deal well with high, squeaky voices and twisted faces. We kissed and made up and then gave the problem back to God for the umpteenth time.
What’s really amazing to me is how quickly we can solve a conundrum (oh, good word!) such as this one as opposed to how drawn out this argument would have been just a few short years ago.
When the disagreement became evident my first reaction was to pray. Of course, my actual words were only, “God, please show him he’s wrong!” But God convicted me quickly telling me to pick up his Word, and as I started to page through it, all He had to do was to bring to mind the name James and I figured He was about to say something to me about holding my tongue and probably straightening my face out too.
But God didn’t direct me there, after mentioning James He then asked me a simple question, “Are you loving your husband right now?” Well God and I talked for a while over that one, seems He doesn’t want to hear, “Well, is he loving me?”
I’m sure I’m the only person who’ll ever need this, but the following is a little checklist with the appropriate corresponding answer that the Lord gave me for future use to know when I am actually loving someone:
Am I Loving ____________ with God’s Love?
1. Have I been continuously patient with their shortcomings? Yes
2. Have I treated them with extreme kindness? Yes
3. Am I envious or jealous of something about them? No
4. Am I being completely honest with them? Yes
5. Am I boastful or in need of other peoples approval? No
6. Have I placed my needs above theirs? No
7. Have I even considered that they might be right? Yes
8. Have I treated them and their point of view with the utmost respect? Yes
9. Have I demanded that they do things my way no matter what? No
10. Does what I want only profit me? No
11. Have I brought past worries or resentment into this problem or relationship? No
12. Am I basing my reaction today on past experiences? No
13. Have I given the person involved every benefit of the doubt? Yes
14. Is my ultimate goal in this situation to glorify God? Yes
I know it’s long and maybe some of these questions don’t quite apply to every situation but God clearly wants us to apply His definition of love found in 1 Corinthians 13 to our relationships.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Cor 13:4-7 NIV
Sound impossible? That’s because it is impossible for us, but God can love people like this through us, if we let Him.