Sunday, December 13, 2009

Love First

A work friend got married yesterday. The sun was shining and more than a foot of snow was hanging in the trees from our mid-week storm. Pine and holly adorned the church and she was a beautiful bride in her elegant white gown accented with dazzling red trim. The sparkles in her long train matched the stars in their young eyes.

The minister gave a thoughtful message. As was his practice during pre-marital counseling, he had asked, "Why do you want to get married?" The answer, as always, was "Because we love each other."

His followup question is, "Why do you love each other?" With this, he says, he gets different answers, but most couples talk about how wonderful the other makes them feel.

He told them what they are describing is "being loved," and yes, it is a great blessing to be loved and to know it. "But to love is quite different than being loved," he distinguished...

Being loved is only half the equation. (And not the half we need to worry about.)

To love is to put the other person before yourself. To love is to help your partner to be the best they can be. To love is to think of their needs and to think of what it means to make them feel loved always, through everything. Love often means sacrifice.

If more would remember these words, more marriages would be solid, more children would live in secure homes... What a great reminder to everyone who attends a wedding. We are there to support and encourage the new Mr. and Mrs. to make their marriage the best it can be. And in the midst of it all, we remember what it means for us to keep the sacred vows we made.

The world wants to tell us life is "all about me" and "getting what I need." If we listen long enough, we start to believe it. But Christ gave us a very different example. "We love because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19 NIV

He loved us when we were unlovable. Sometimes we are still "unlovable," yet how great it is that He still loves us. If only we would love the way Christ loves His Church. We are to love first!

"Give and it will be given to you... a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Luke 6:38 NIV.

Dear God, thank you for the marriage of our friends. And I thank you for a wonderful marriage. I pray for all our friends' marriages to be solid and strong. Would you please help us to love the way you love? the way you intended love to be? Help us to remember to serve our partners always and help them to be the best they can be. Help us to love first and love well. Thank you for your awesome example of real love.

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