Defining Love, Part 1

Have you ever been to a wedding and heard someone read this message?

 

 

 

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

(1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

 

When people hear that passage at weddings, it puts a smile on their face.

Henry Drummond, a 19th century Scottish preacher, scientist, and author, wrote a wonderful little book entitled The Greatest Thing in the World. In it, he contends there are nine elements of love described in this “Love Passage” from the Bible. I’ll be sharing one or two of these elements in each of my next few blog posts. Why? Because we need more love in the world—and it can begin with each one of us, every day.

The late Richard Bolles, author of What Color is Your Parachute? used to ask people, “Would you like to make the world a better place?” Everyone, of course, would say, “Yes!” Then he would ask, “What’s your strategy?” and he would get blank looks.

Bolles’s theory went something like this: You can make the world a better place by the moment-to-moment decisions you make as you interact with other human beings. Suppose leaving your house in the morning someone yells at you. You have a choice: you can yell back, or you can go back in the house and give that person a hug and tell him or her, “I hope you have a great day!” Someone cuts you off on the highway. You have a choice: you can chase after that person and give them an obscene gesture or you can send them a prayer. It’s all up to you.

Given those choices, let’s look at Drummond’s first element of love—Patience: “Love as patience endures evil, injury, and provocation without being filled with resentment, indignation, or revenge. It will put up with many slights and neglects from the people it loves, and wait long to see the kindly effects of such patience.”

Sometimes you send out love to someone and get nothing in return. You send out more love and still get nothing back. But things don’t always happen when we want them to happen. Our timetable is not always the most important one. Realizing that, don’t be in a hurry! Be patient.

When I wrote The Power of Ethical Management with Norman Vincent Peale, he said there are two characteristics we need in life if we are going to make a difference: patience and persistence. When our patience runs out, we need to turn to persistence and keep on keeping on. When we get frustrated with our persistence not getting results, we need to return to patience. We have a cute little plaque in our summer cottage that says:

“May those who love us, love us. And those who don’t, may God turn their hearts. And if He doesn’t turn their hearts, may He turn their ankles so we’ll know them by their limping.”

Ha! That’s the ultimate patience and persistence! Today if you send out loving feelings toward someone and don’t get any positive reaction, don’t give up! Because love understands and, therefore, waits.

Next time I’ll talk about Drummond’s second and third elements of love: Kindness and Generosity. Hope you have a great week!

 

 

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