“Love must be one-way to be worth anything.”
– Pastor Tullian Tchividjian
I realize that statement may shock the system.
In a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world, where, too often, we keep meticulous score and only mete out love as we feel it’s deserved, that’s almost hard for the brain to process on first read.
So, go ahead, read it again.
Love must be one-way to be worth anything.
It certainly turns conventional wisdom and pop psychology on their heads, but it’s the truth.
Remember, Jesus said it’s easy to love the people who are nice to us, the people who treat us well. “What credit is that?” is actually how He put it.
Relationships are healthiest when each person is practicing a radical, unconditional love that goes beyond reciprocation or obligation.
Think of the way most of parents love their newborn babies. That radical, unconditional, overwhelming love despite the fact that they can’t do anything for us. We stay up late, wake up in the middle of the night, get up early, feed, clothe, hold, bathe, play with, provide for, clean up after and totally rearrange our lives for them. THAT is the one-way love we must capture and live out in our relationships.
Here’s another great thought on this from @pastortullian:
We are the recipients of abounding, incomprehensible and undeserved grace, yet we tend to treat others more like the unforgiving servant (Matthew 18:21-35) than the man who told that story.
“The world tells us to stand up for ourselves, to stick to our guns. But the Gospel frees us to lay down our arms.” (via Pastor Tullian Tchividjian)
Pastor Tullian makes the case for cultivating more grace in our relationships in his new book, One Way Love. While God’s way often seems more difficult, in the end it not only brings Him glory, it’s what’s best for us, too!
A few quotes jumped out at me from this book…
“The fire to love unconditionally comes only from being soaked in the fuel of being unconditionally loved.” ~Pastor Tullian
When we live for our happiness, as opposed to God’s glory and the good of those around us, we miss out on a whole lot of awesome. Putting ourselves first may be natural, but even putting aside obedience and choosing the narrow path, it just doesn’t work.
“Every marriage is the union of two selfish people, fighting for their way, desperate to win. That’s why an apology so often feels like we are betraying ourselves. We would rather see a marriage fall apart than cede any ground…” ~Pastor Tullian
We’re so stubborn. We’ll act in a way that’s counter productive to our own best interests just to “win.” That victory, however, is no such thing. We don’t get what we really wanted in the first place, we hurt the people we love and we miss an opportunity to give God glory.
That’s lose, lose, lose.
We need to remember that the people who hurt us are not the real enemy. (Ephesians 6:12, 1 Peter 5:8)
“Husbands and wives are often so hard on one another, merciless with their demands and expectations, their criticisms and silences.” ~Pastor Tullian
We’re in a battle. A battle for our marriage, our family, our kids. We’re fighting for our futures, a war for the souls of family members, friends, neighbors and coworkers who are far from God and are watching us.
We can point those around us, including our own children, toward God and show them a better way. We don’t have to do what everybody else does, we can be more.
As my pastor, Sean Sears, often says, we won’t have extraordinary lives if we keep making ordinary choices.
But 1 Corinthians 13 points toward the hope that’s there for us: “Love believes, hopes, endures, never ends…”
“For the marriage grounded in one-way love, there is always hope, always a way forward.” ~Pastor Tullian
[Originally published November 3, 2013 growingingracetoday.wordpress.com]
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