I once read a story attributed to J. Allan Petersen and thought it a powerful illustration of the power of love…
“Newspaper columnist and minister George Crane tells of a wife who came into his office full of hatred toward her husband. “I do not only want to get rid of him, I want to get even. Before I divorce him, I want to hurt him as much as he has me.”
Dr. Crane suggested an ingenious plan “Go home and act as if you really love your husband. Tell him how much he means to you. Praise him for every decent trait. Go out of your way to be as kind, considerate, and generous as possible. Spare no efforts to please him, to enjoy him. Make him believe you love him. After you’ve convinced him of your undying love and that you cannot live without him, then drop the bomb. Tell him that you’re getting a divorce. That will really hurt him.” With revenge in her eyes, she smiled and exclaimed, “Beautiful, beautiful. Will he ever be surprised!” And she did it with enthusiasm. Acting “as if.” For two months she showed love, kindness, listening, giving, reinforcing, sharing. When she didn’t return, Crane called. “Are you ready now to go through with the divorce?”
“Divorce?” she exclaimed. “Never! I discovered I really do love him.” Her actions had changed her feelings. Motion resulted in emotion. The ability to love is established not so much by fervent promise as often repeated deeds.
THEY WILL KNOW US BY OUR LOVE
Jesus told his followers in John 13:35, “Your love for one another will prove to the world you are my disciples.” This is of course true but we also see that the inverse is true as well. Our lack of love can call into question our relationship with Christ before the eyes of an ever curious and skeptical world. Mahatma Ghandi once said, ““I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” Love paints a picture and as someone once said, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Its time we start painting! Its time for Christians to be counter-cultural and love like Jesus!
What kind of picture does your life paint to an unbelieving world? The love God calls us to express to the world is sacrificial in nature. We are to consider the needs of others ahead of our own. We are to humble ourselves and consider no act of service beneath us. Difficult? Impossible? Absolutely for the natural man but who said Christians were supposed to be “natural” and like everyone else???
WHO WANTS TO BE NORMAL ANYWAY???
God has called, commissioned and set us apart for something more than a normal life. He has also empowered us with His Holy Spirit for this super-natural work. The rewards of our cooperation with His intentions is beyond words and even beyond this world. Everything we do, every way that we love, affects both now and eternity! But just as the story of the woman who wanted to divorce her husband and changed her mind, our decision to love also changes us!
C S Lewis once said, “Do not waste your time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor act as if you did. As soon as we do this, we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less.”
Choose Christ and love even when you don’t feel like doing so. The result will be beyond incredible as your life takes on a meaning and power you never considered possible. Love God, other believers, those who haven’t accepted Christ and even those who consider themselves to be your enemy. Love and watch the power of God transform your life and the lives of those around you.
Love never fails. Be counter-cultural, different and abnormal. Be the weirdo and freak. Be the strange one people talk about…Be like Jesus and love! It will change your life!
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