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Is Your Love Willing To Suffer Any Pain? (Biblical Long-Suffering)
IS YOUR LOVE WILLING TO SUFFER ANY PAIN?
Where, you might ask, did this question come from? There is a passage in Scripture known as "The Love Chapter," in 1 Corinthians 13. You've probably seen it written on plaques and on posters, on signs or little gifts in a gift shop for mom or spouse. From this verse comes a list of qualities of love that are present if love is genuine.
"Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails." (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
Where do people get the idea that love should never hurt or contain pain of any kind? The fact of that matter is, pain is intricately wound around love and is always present in some form. The statements "Love hurts" and "You always hurt the one you love" are only associated with mistakes or even betrayals. In actuality, quite the reverse is true. Now, I'm not talking of perverse things where the devil tries to create a situation where one person is hurting another and calling it love or another person is being hurt and excusing it as love. I'm speaking of the actual workings of this decision called love. Yes, I said decision and not emotion.
You will find the downgrading of love to an emotion is mentioned only once and this account is written so as to show there was no "real" love involved. This was the story of Amnon (David's son) and Tamar (his half-sister). The account says Amnon "loved" his half-sister Tamar but after he raped her, he immediately "hated" her. (2 Samuel 13:15) That "love" was just emotions good and bad mixed together, and not love at all, as spoken of in the Scripture above. Jesus said, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another." (John 13:34) An emotional high that comes with sexual attraction all by itself does not accurately indicate that a 2 Corinthians- type love is present. A purely emotional love does not occur as a result of someone else commanding it (even when God commands it). Jesus commanded that each make the rational decision to love one another. This love of which He spoke does not always have the euphoric effect of "being in love." One decides to love and sticks to it because of God's command and God's enabling to do it. Sometimes the emotions associated with this type of love do not feel all that great. Emotions were never intended to be love's only indication. Sometimes it is hard to distinguish between love and lust. (But that is for another article).
Because we as sinners in this world are in cursed bodies that sin, bodies doomed eventually to be sick, weaken and die, we can look forward to a life full of pain and suffering. If one was to keep one's mind on aches and pains of this life we could list hurts in one form or another every day of our existence. We are not to live like that. We are not to run from that pain of life, but rejoice in Christ despite it.
I submit to you that if you are not willing to rejoice in the pains of your life and take on the hurt of others, helping them bear their pain, you do not love them in the way God intends you to love.
Love Toward Others
Love, as created by God, is an infusion of power by God to absorb hurt as well as distribute care to others. A decision is made to obey God's command. It becomes a sign to all that you know who God is, because you love others.
"And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment." (1 John 4:23)
When your child hurts, you hurt. If your child faces something that is not short-lived, you suffer right alongside him. It is up to you as a parent, to be a role model for that child. They must be taught how to rest in the Lord with their sufferings, how to pray for God's will, be it healing or waiting to be healed. It helps to be honest with him or her and to tell them that in this life there will be pain but God is with them every step of the way, as are you. You can also let them know that when we get home, there will be no more pain. As your child senses they are not alone and are loved, it is a comfort. With a constant pointing to God who never leaves or forsakes, they are trained from an early age how to be strong in the Lord. How many times have you seen children suffer and they seem to bear up better than the parent? That's because God gives grace to them and grants them power to push through.
This same principle works for a husband and wife. A wife suffers with her husband. His defeats are her defeats. She prays with him and lets him know that she is always with him, that she feels what he feels. She reminds him that his strength is in the Lord God in heaven and not in his own abilities and talents. Also, husbands, this goes for you too. When she hurts, you hurt. You do those same things for her. You hold her up and respect her as the one given you by the Lord to share your life.
Love Between God...
"Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him." (1 John 3:1)
"By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us." (1 John 3:16)
Now to get a little deeper...
People have the tendency to live with very little time spent on things that are important and very much time spent on things that are unimportant. They major on pleasure and minor on discomfort and run from pain. That may seem like wisdom, but when the pain does come, the running takes them to the place they should have been all along, at the feet of Jesus. When we get there we often ask, "why?" blindsided by the pain. If we had been at the foot of the cross, we probably would not have been blindsided, probably would not be asking why, and it probably would not hurt as much.
Such is the way of sinners with God. We are blessed, so we "take our ease in Zion." If we hit a wrinkle, we panic and ask "why?" When we truly hurt and we come to the end of ourselves where God can make us powerful, then we see that all the struggling was in vain. God wants us to be powerful all the time. We tend to forget God when God blesses us and remember God when bad times come. He wants to bless us without our forgetting Him when he does.
Sometimes Christians even go so far as to grow to hate God, blaming Him for any wrong in our life, as if our own sin had nothing to do with it.
What Do You Do When...?
I guess this is the question, what do you do when love hurts? Do you run away from the decision you made: to love. Do you resent having to lend your strength to the ones closest to you? Do you see things through your own prism of comfort and show God anger or even hatred when things don't go your way? How do you see love when looking through a window of pain?
Those are some deep questions to ask yourself.
One thing to remember: the closer you get to God and His word, the more this life is able to be seen for what it is in a spiritual sense. The farther away you get from God, the more you feel things that become irritants, things that anger you, things that give pain increasingly too hard to endure. Cling to God and you have power to live life masterfully. Cling to the flesh and your sight will be distorted and life will defeat you. It is your choice. How will you live? How will you love?
I watched you grow, I knew your pain
I watched your tears, fall down like rain,
When you fell down, and skinned your knee
Then hurriedly brought, that wound to me,
I kissed that owie, and the pain went away
But I never told you, what happened that day,
That pain was transferred, to my heart you see
For I was willing, to hurt for thee,
'Tis a parent's task, when their child does hurt
To give of their money, to offer their shirt,
To stay up late, when their children are out
To put up with foolishness, when their kids pout.
It's the same thing, with God and His kids
For He knows how to care, for those that are His,
He kisses our owies, to take away pain
And sees when we're out, and caught in the rain,
He provides us the clothes, we wear on our backs
Wherever we go, He follows our tracks,
He knows how we sin, 'cause it cuts like a knife
And He paid for that sin, by giving His life,
So like you ran to me, with your owie that day
Run to the Savior, to make your pain go away.
Maybe YOU are notable to relate to the things mentioned above because in the course of your life you never took the time to ask Jesus to be your Savior. You may have struggled and felt life defeating you at every turn. Well Jesus is waiting for you to open the door of your heart to Him. He is ever waiting for you to open to Him. In your heart of hearts you know that sin dwells in you. Jesus came to earth to pay for that sin so that when this life is over you can spend forever with Him. If you never have cried out to Jesus to save you from your sins, it is easy, just pray this prayer and mean it with all your heart:
Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and I have been watching life defeat me and my family at every turn. I need You to save me because I cannot save myself. Please forgive me for my sin Lord. I turn to You now as my Savior and turn from the way I am living so that I can follow You. I believe that You died for me and was buried and was raised for me. I throw myself on You and trust You will hold me up and make me Your child. Thank you for saving me, in Jesus' holy name, Amen.