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Do you give the kind of love you want?

 Do you give the kind of love you want? (Photo: iStock)

“Love is not rude. Love does not demand its way. Love is not irritable. Love keeps no record of when it was wronged” (1st Corinthians 13:5). What kind of lover are you? Everyone longs to be hooked up with a great lover. Life is all about learning how to love. God builds your love by testing it and bringing unlovable people into your life. It is easy to love lovable people but not the unlovable ones.

There are special cases of people who are just difficult to love. First, they are the uncooperative people who are hard to get along and work with. They lack social skills and are immature, irresponsible, cranky, rude and obnoxious. “The wise in heart will be called prudent. And the sweetness of the lips increases learning.” (Proverbs 16:21).

Second, there are the very demanding people who tend to drain others. They are pushy, manipulative, stubborn, insistent, demeaning and self-centred. They always think they are right and expect perfection from others. “Let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus; who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God. Instead, made himself of no reputation by taking the form of a bondservant and came in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:5-7).

Third, there are disappointing people. They could be a spouse, parent, child, friend, colleague, pastor, etc. They may not intend to hurt you but they will always let you down or fail you somehow. They break promises and are disloyal and unfaithful.

Fourth are the destructive people. They intend to harm or hurt you. They are evil, hateful, double dealers, deceitful, dangerous and debilitating. “He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates friends.” (Proverbs 17:9).

How do you respond with love to all these groups of people? Love is not rude. You must not just be truthful, but also tactful. Do not respond rudely; instead, listen to them without interrupting and this will disarm them.

“Answering before listening is both stupid and rude.” (Proverbs 18:13). American moral and social philosopher Eric Hoffer says, “Rudeness is a weak man’s imitation of strength.”

You must be understanding and not demanding. It has been observed that most people are more polite and nice to strangers or acquaintances than they are to those close to them. They say and do the meanest things to those they love. Many relationships are broken because people stop doing the little niceties they used to do for each other - the calls, outings, cards, date nights, flowers, love notes, etc. Your attitude should be the same as that of Jesus Christ. Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God.

You must be gentle and not judgmental. Use your judgment to know when something is going wrong in a relationship. “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.” (Colossians 3:13).

“Gentle words bring life and health. A deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.” (Proverbs 15:4). How many relationships could be maintained and strengthened if only one had waited a bit or used gentle and kind words instead of harsh or vindictive ones?

For the people who intentionally hurt or harm you, do not retaliate or keep it in your memory - erase it and let it go! When we get hurt, the natural tendency is to remember it and retaliate.  We keep it in mind and repeat it relationally as a weapon and practically when we share it with other people. Every time you remember or go over it in your mind, you will get hurt all over again and this is not being smart.

“Do not bear a grudge against others. Instead, settle your differences with them so that you do not sin because of them.” (Leviticus 19:17). Psychologists say whatever you rehearse, you begin to resemble it.

You only hurt yourself by rehearsing it. Do not repeat arguments or bring up past wrongs because love keeps no record of wrongs. “Love forgets mistakes. Nagging parts, the best of friends.” (Proverbs 17:9) Do not repeat the wrong by gossiping. Gossip is spread by wicked people. It stirs up trouble and breaks up relationships. It is the ego that says ‘I have secrets here that give me some sense of control. One of the greatest tests of love is how much you gossip about other people. “Hatred stirs up trouble. But love covers all sins.” (Proverbs 10:12)

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