Sunday, September 20, 2009

love is kind

1 Corinthians 13:4
…Love is kind…

When was the last time you heard someone say, “I don’t accept charity.” Charity has been misinterpreted to mean, “hand outs” or “welfare”; something negative to those with strong wills and good work ethics, but the truth is, charity and kindness are basically the same word.

Accepting charity is not a sign of weakness as some may think, but a realization that we can’t solve every problem in our lives without some help. One of the biggest problems I’ve always had involves asking for help, especially from relatives. When my wife and I moved to Maine, we didn’t even tell them we were going for fear of them either begging us not to go, or worse, wanting to help. After four years of living in a one room hotel room my dad came for a visit and gave us the money to get into an apartment.

The best part of this is that I didn’t even realize that I needed the help, but he knew better. True kindness is not always about what we want; it’s about making sure we have what we need. Kindness is about putting the needs of someone else first, and if you’re trying to help someone who is as stubborn as I am, you may need to drag them, kicking and screaming. I will always appreciate what my father, and his wife, for what they did, even though I didn’t ask for it.

In a relationship, kindness is not only necessary, but it also goes two directions. There is an old Ecuadoran saying, “When one is helping another, both gain in strength.” I’m not saying that you should act kind to get something in return; that is not an act of kindness. Kindness will yield its own rewards, such as acceptance, and the satisfaction of seeing a smile on the face of the ones you love. The greatest reward of kindness, as the saying suggests, it opens you up to the strength that comes from helping others.

Whether you’re the one providing the kindness, or the one receiving it, an act of kindness is the greatest way to express love in any relationship.

Something to think about: There are more than 1 million children, 3.5 million people in all, who have no home. These people count on the kindness of others for their daily meals, in shelters and soup kitchens. Most of those who work in these places are just people who give some of their free time just to help those in need. There is no thought of compensation, except the look on the recipients face when they realize someone actually cares about them.


Friday, September 4, 2009

Love is patient

It’s been a while since my last post, but I had to recharge my batteries a little. I realized that when I started writing my two blogs, I was doing it to share inspiration, and to reflect on what I was learning, but in my own excitement I started to concentrate more on how often I could put out a blog than what I was trying to accomplish. I was becoming frustrated by not being able to put out a blog on time. In the end, I was losing patience with myself.

I have now gone back to the beginning with daily writing exercises.

This last part of the “Love” series, will take a look at the attributes of love as listed in 1 Corinthians 13. Instead of tackling it all at once, I felt that each attribute deserved its own

1 Corinthians 13:4
Love is patient…

“Everything happens in its own time.” There are thousands of sayings about patience, and most have been used to the point of cliché. To me, this is one of the best sayings about patience in a relationship.

God is always testing our patience, not to wear us down, but to make us stronger. The greatest story about patience is that of Job. God allowed Satan to take everything from him, except his health and faith. Through it all, Job never turned his back on God, because God would never turn his back on Job. It took a lot of patience for Job to endure what he did, and in the end he was rewarded for his patience and faith.

When we pray, we expect an answer immediately, and we expect to get what we want. It’s the whole name it and claim it attitude. If we don’t see immediate results, we think that God either doesn’t care, but just because we want something doesn’t mean it’s in our best interest to have it.

God gives us one of three answers to our prayers; either yes, no, or wait for the right time. The third answer doesn’t always sit well with today’s mindset. The common attitude today is “I want what I want, when I want it.” With the internet, and the overuse of credit cards, people find it easy to get what they want, and they are unwilling to wait, even on dating.

Internet dating sites are increasing in number, and membership is rising at an alarming rate. I’m not for, or against the idea. There have been a lot of good relationships started on the internet, but there are just as many relationships that have failed. The thing that the second group failed to take into consideration is that relationships take time, and work. They are looking for a shortcut to a meaningful relationship, and this inevitable result is a brick wall.

There are many types of relationships, but if you try to rush the natural process of any relationship, not only will it break the relationship apart, but it can also ruin your chance for future relationships. On the other hand, if you have the patience to allow the relationship to progress naturally, it can strengthen this and future relationships.

Patience is a key ingredient to a strong, healthy relationship. I realize that it’s not always easy to be patient, but if you want to base your relationships on true love, it is something you are going to have to work on. I know I still have to work on it.

Something to think about: When was the last time you lost a relationship over a shortcut, that could have been saved by being patient?