Fabulous article by Graham Cooke from his September 2010 Newsletter
Sometimes, when we think we love someone, actually what we love most is what he or she gives us. If for any reason that changes, then our relationship could be adjusted to reflect our disappointment or even bewilderment. We are always changed by our experiences of being loved. What makes us mature in loving is when we see our contribution to others as the bigger part of love. We love because we want to be an expression of who Jesus is for us. We love without strings or thought of reward.
Love gives permission to change and support the process. It does not wait on the sidelines until change is complete before it rejoins the relationship. Love is a willingness to share the journey and be part of the story. Life can be a comedy, a tragedy, usually a drama, always an adventure, and unfortunately, occasionally a soap opera. Real love always plays a leading role never a bit part.
We want excitement, not boring predictability, yet we often fail to understand that real love is mostly about how we overcome circumstances, not how we avoid them. Life is unforeseen, unpredictable, and made up of pleasure and pain. To navigate the twists and turns of our journey without using love as a compass and guide, means we will neither discover nor become the relational equivalent of True North. This is the most genuinely true alignment that can exist in the harmony between people.
Love does not accept a negative. It will challenge fear in an appropriate manner. Love stands up for love. The evidence of our lack of love is that we are afraid to be hurt or rejected. That can mean that we relate to people in the present so as to prevent ourselves from being hurt, as we once were in the past. That is dysfunctional and sad. We are governed by a present/past mindset that is protective in a completely wrong way. Perfect love casts out fear. The antidote to fear is to fully understand the power of love.
Love is not about opening yourself up to another. It is choosing to be your real self no matter what occurs. Love is about how we love, not who loves us. “I am what I love, not what loves me.” This has become one of the most powerful identity statements that I have ever made. It has produced a freedom that has revolutionized my relationships. Real love cannot be rejected, because it never seeks a return. Love is not an investment. It is the right thing to do. It is a part of our righteousness. That is, it is not just about doing the right thing, but more about being the right person. Be true to yourself and love others.
When the relationship of one person to another becomes toxic, love is still possible even if trust is negotiable. In real love, we always believe the best of someone. If their pattern of behavior does not change, eventually the lack of trust will bring us to a crossroads. It is no longer possible to believe the best, but we can believe that they have the potential to become better. Love relates to people’s potential rather than their actual nature.
Love overcomes our own hurts and wounds. How do we love someone when love is not returned? In exactly the same way as if it were! We love for the joy of loving. Love means that we don’t have to “fix” people. We simply resource them with how we see them, think about them, and value them. Doing something for someone else without the need for recognition or gratitude will benefit the giver as much as it will the recipient. Love expressed, increases.
Love does not control another’s destiny nor stifle their identity. We are learning to love openly and generously. Love that is founded on dependency can become toxic. We can suffocate people with our expectations and demands. We can over-protect like a security blanket that smothers people and allows them no freedom to discover life. Love releases people. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. It is not our responsibility to change people but to give love freely and without strings. We earn the right to give advice. Loving-kindness opens up the door of trust.
We are accepted in the Beloved. The Father has put us into the place of His truest love and utmost affection. He put us into Jesus. He loves us exactly as He loves Jesus, even though we are at this time very different in lots of ways. We are learning to be made in His image. In the process of learning, we are loved as though we have made it! Being in Christ is a paradox. We are in Jesus with all the benefits of being like Him while we are learning to become as He is.
With true love, the process is as good as the end result! God gives love not by measure, but in fullness. Therefore, if we are worthy of love to begin the process, the same love that empowered us to start will compel us to finish. There are no degrees in the love of Heaven. Love is love, God is love, and so are we.