Choose to Love
“Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” -- Colossians 3:14 (NLT)
Love is a choice – especially when you are in the midst of a challenging relationship.
By many standards, my husband and I had an enviable life: two great kids, a lovely home, a successful business, and a great church and community. There was no denying we loved one another. We had just made so many poor choices along the way that the fabric of our relationship was torn and tattered and in desperate need of repair. Yet, neither of us really knew where, or how, to mend our relationship.
By May 2012, our marriage was a mess, and maybe the most tragic part was nobody knew. We had become so good at hiding the deterioration of our marriage that nobody had a clue how dangerously close we were to ending it.
Just as we choose to forgive – we choose to love.
Relationships come in all shapes and sizes and require patience, time, and energy to preserve. God created us for relationships with one another and with Him. But it’s up to us to choose unconditional love.
“If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others,
I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NLT)
Healthy relationships begin with a common connection: common interests, common friends, common hobbies, and the like.
A soul connection is a deeper connection with: someone we can easily relate to, someone who is easy to be around, and someone we genuinely enjoy spending time with.
A spiritual connection involves harmony in spiritual beliefs: God, out of love and concern for us, speaks to this important component being an integral part of marriage relationships (2 Corinthians 6:14). It is important that we cultivate relationships with people at this level who not only share our common bond of faith but also will encourage and challenge us in our spiritual growth.
Finally, some relationships reach the level of intimate connection: a closeness that allows each person in the relationship full access to one another’s hearts and souls. This type of relationship is commonly seen between spouses, parents and children, close family members, and close friends. Intimate relationships don’t always involve physical closeness, but they are always grounded in intimate knowledge of one another, a sense of safety and security, and are meant to last a lifetime.
Healthy relationships are grounded in the overall health of each person in the relationship, the ability to discern the difference between safe and unsafe relationships, and the ability to set healthy boundaries.
Because Mike and I had carried a boatload of baggage from our childhoods into our relationship, marriage, and family, by May of 2012, we were ready to give up on love –– it was just too hard, too confusing, and would require way too much work to repair –– or so we thought.
Thanks to Christ’s unconditional love for us, along with His guidance and godly mentors, we made the courageous decision to Choose to Love. God gave us the courage to fight for our twenty-six-year marriage and take on the painful challenge of healing deep wounds that, honestly, we believed were way beyond repair. You can read more about our story in Courage For Life.
Are you in a place today where you are struggling to move past the hurt and choose to love?
Maybe you’re at odds with your spouse or loved one. Maybe your hurt runs so deep you’ve vowed never to love again or maybe you’re simply afraid you won’t find the right person to love –– so, therefore, you are ready to give up.
What ways do you plan to step out in faith and Choose to Love today?
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