“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 ESV). “God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent His One and Only Son into the world so that we might live through Him” (1 John 4:9 HCSB). Christ Calls Us to Love
You might wonder, “What can I do to bring hope, help, and healing? I am just one person; we are just one family.” In the NIV, love is mentioned 551 times! First John 4:7 says, “love is from God,” and 1 John 4:16 proclaims, “God is love.” Receive God’s love and become a conduit of love:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34). What Does Love Look Like?
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, 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).
In the Devotional Study Guide for Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti, we explain “The way to a more loving relationship is to be more loving yourself!’Let’s take a glimpse of the word meaning from its original Greek:
Patience: Long passion, willing to wait Kindness: Gentle Does not envy: Does not boil over Isn’t boastful: Not a bragger Not proud: Does not puff oneself up Not rude: Not indecent Not self-seeking: Doesn’t seek their own interests Not easily angered: Is not easily irritated and avoids sharpness Doesn’t keep track of wrongs: Does not record in a ledger a list of offenses Does not rejoice in evil: Finds no joy in the triumph of vile Rejoices in the truth: Finds joy in all things honest Protects: Covers like a roof Trusts: Has faith without being gullible Hopes: Sees the bright side Perseveres: A stout-hearted soldier Love Never Fails: Love survives Wouldn’t the world be a much better place if each of us loved more like this?
What Does Toxic Anti-Love Look Like?
If each of us does not deliberately choose to take the high road of love, we can easily slip into toxic behaviors in relationships. When I was writing 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman, I was looking for a way to capture what toxic looked like. I thought, Satan loves to twist God’s Word (like the half truths he fed Adam and Eve and the trickery of the temptation of Jesus). I paraphrased 1 Corinthians 13 inside-out to better identify toxic behaviors:
Toxic is impatient and unkind. Toxic is always envious and jealous. Toxic boasts and is self-glorifying. Toxic is arrogant and proud, self-centered, and rude. Toxic easily loses its temper and keeps track of all offenses and holds a grudge. Toxic is thrilled when people look and feel stupid. Toxic loves a mistake because she can tell everyone of the error and replay it over and over. Toxic runs to evil, never protects others, and gives up on people and life easily.
Jesus said, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12 NIV). A toxic mindset poisons the Golden Rule, turning it into “Do unto others before they do it to you. Exploit others before they exploit you.” And the toxic person would scoff at Jesus’ example of sacrificing for others. Instead, toxic people tend to sacrifice others for their own benefit.
Will You Love Like Jesus?
Since you cannot control circumstances or others, but you CAN control your own thoughts, choices, and behaviors, will you choose to love more like Jesus? “And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God” (Ephesians5:2 HCSB).