Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

25 Love is Part 10

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1 Corinthians 13:7 “Love never loses faith, is always hopeful”

  • Believes

Believe in the bible usually refers to God but here it denotes confidence in others by living life believing the best about them. Love trusts, not because it is gullible, but because it is willing to give people the benefit of the doubt. Love expects people of the truth to be true and so it is ready to believe and take people at their highest and best, not at their lowest and worst. Love leads us to interpret the conduct of others through the lens of goodwill, but it does not mean that we turn a blind eye when we see the opposite of what love is. Matthew 10:16 says that we must be “as wise as serpents” being aware of danger and meeting it with tough love may be the best response to irresponsible and foolish behavior.  But we can be too guarded, too wary and distrustful driven not by love but by the inclinations of the sinful heart which by its very nature is cynical and suspicious. Hate always starts with doubt looking for the trail of deceit so it can despise and justify its mistrusting ways. Love works from the foundation of innocent until proven guilty and believes what others say in their own defense until actions prove them otherwise. If love errs, it must err in trust.

Love is the safe harbor of trust that allows people to be moored together in relationship. Real love will not even pass on the facts about people if those facts will be unnecessarily harmful because real love knows that truth is always yoked with grace. What a tragedy when people in relationship with one another do not trust each other. I believe it is better to trust and be wrong than to live in suspicion and be wrong. Suspicion eats up the inner soul of a person and like cancer it destroys us from the inside out. British poet Alfred Tennyson wrote, “It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” And I believe it is better to believe in someone and have your heart broken than to have no heart at all.

When I take my last breath here on earth, closing my eyes on the temporary so I can see the eternal, I think of that glorious moment face to face with Jesus and I hope He’ll say of me that I’ve loved and trusted too much, rather than too little. Love “believes” in people and is able to see the potential in them because love believes in a God that changes us. Have you experience the reality of the One who can take the unattractive and unworthy and transform them into a masterpiece of beauty and grace? Love is not focused on the performance of people but the perfection of the Prince of Peace. What if through love I would look beyond what people are and into what they can become? What if I stopped getting high centered on where people are and allowed myself to be freed to see where God wants to take them? When this life is over I want to have loved too many but I fear distrust will have robbed me and left me having loved too few. Lord would you help us to believe in people seeing all that You can do, in and through them.

  • Hopes

Love does not despair but sees the bright side of things, unlike Eeyore and his dark cloud.  Love steps confidently into the dark forest and instead of fear at the buzzing of the bees there is a smile for love knows that the honey is near.  No matter the circumstances, love continues to hope for the best, it is positive, not negative. Even when evil seems to be winning, love looks to Hope knowing truth will prevail. Love sees people through the lens of hope and hopes for the best in regard to all people and situations. This hope is based in the spoken Word of God that says He will accomplish His benevolent purpose in those who love Him (Romans 8:28). Love is hopeful and confident of the future knowing that focusing on faith in God’s grace means that human failures aren’t final. Real love can hope because of what God can do and in spite of our present problems the cross of Christ provides hope. This is the true power of love, it is not fueled and sustained by an ever-changing emotional or physical state, but by hope in an unchanging God. Real love has the capacity to view life and live it with a renewed and refreshing optimism because of “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). Because you know there is hope for you it enables you to have hope for others. When you meet someone who needs encouragement, give it to them because more people die of broken hearts than swelled heads. Discouragement visits mansions and mud huts and we have the antidote of hope administered through love.

In a world filled with hopelessness and despair, love always hopes. In the middle of economic failure, epidemics, war, hatred, hunger and hurt, love always hopes. Love’s hope comes through faith in Jesus Christ believing that he is triumphant over all hurts and pains and problems. And filled with this hope, love gives a person courage to live today and to face tomorrow no matter what happens! The story of the prodigal son is one of hope despite a son who rejects his father, his family, and his upbringing. How it must have broken his father’s heart, yet every day the son is gone, the father goes out to the roadside and he looks, and he waits, and he longs, and he hopes for his son to return. We don’t know how long the son was gone, it could have been months or even years, but every day the father is there, hour upon hour, waiting, watching, longing, hoping. When the son finally does return it says that his father saw him coming while he was still a long way off. Do you think the best, believe the best, and express the best toward others? Love makes hope last.

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