The cheesiness of that title literally made me shake my head. “Unlocking the power of love? Who is this guy?!” Oh, right, it’s me. Seriously, though, there is no other title I would be happier to end this #loveothers series than this one. Love really is a power, and there is one key that unlocks the multitude of benefits that love fuels. That key is giving.
Jesus set the stage for love and gave us all this beautiful example of what love can do to people. His innocence, yet quietness as he took on undeserved punishment served as a mirror for his torturers and their hearts were changed because of that. He gave His life selflessly so our hearts could be changed, too. In John 15:13, Jesus taught us that there is no greater love than to lay down your life for your friends, and then He went and did it.
Thank God we don’t have to physically sacrifice ourselves to serve our friends or our spouses. Jesus took one for the team there, but that doesn’t relieve us of our need to give. Like the pure leader He was, He set the example, He didn’t carry our burdens for us. If we are to do greater things than He did, we have to first do what He did. To unlock the power of love means to set forgiveness free, to set mercy and grace free, acceptance, kindness, patience free. This is the power of love and this is what it means to love, in case you were wondering what this huge word even meant. 1 Corinthians 13:4 begins the greatest definition of love ever given:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not boast, it does not envy, 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.
I hear people say all the time “relationships are so hard!” It’s true. To love someone is hard; It is hard, but it is not complicated. The one fuel for love is selflessness but the one thing we have a hard time laying down is ourselves. This is where our difficulty to truly love lies. Now that we have the data, we know what has to be done. The phrase “ignorance is bliss” is old news now. Let get uncomfortable through knowledge. If we want to experience the real power of love in our lives, we have to start giving. We have to start laying ourselves down. To give a good gift from the heart is to give to the undeserving. If you need your spouse to love you, it’s time to give to them without being given to first. If you need your kid to love you, it’s time to give them mercy when they don’t deserve it. If you need your coworker to show you respect, it’s time to give them respect before they give it to you.
Just like what happened in your heart when you believed a man died on a cross before you were perfect, that same power is unlocked when you give to the undeserving. Every time I show my wife grace when I’m irritated, she finds the change I needed to see on her own. Every time I wrestled with my pride on whether to forgive those people or not, my forgiveness led them to sincere apology. You will always get what you need from love and so will the other person. The true power of love is unlocked by giving.
When this is hard, and it will always be hard, know that you are fighting the good fight. Know there are rewards for you. Know you are showing Jesus to the world. Know you are changing hearts. Know that your spirit and your wisdom will grow closer to God. Know that it was given to you first, and then you are ready to give again. When you are scared to sacrifice your pride to love, remember there is no fear in love. You are loved.