IS LOVE .. just another word .. or much more?

Looking for "love" .. in all the wrong places? LOVE .. LOVE .. just another word?

Today we tend to call many things "love" .. when they are nothing more more than lust, sex, mis-guided infatuations .. some say a force of nature .. yet so many seek after it - and as much as we may want it - we can not command it, demand it, or even take it away from those that freely give it to us ..

THINK ABOUT IT  .. we can't control it any more than we can command the moon and the stars and the wind and the rain to come and go according to our whims and desires - BUT WHO CAN? .. Love is bigger than you and I .. we can invite love, but we cannot dictate how, when, and where love expresses itself. You can choose to surrender to love, or not, but in the end love confronts us - unpredictable and irrefutable. Love is free. It cannot be bought, sold, or traded. You cannot make someone love you, nor can you prevent it, for any amount of money. Love cannot be imprisoned nor can it be legislated. Love is not a substance, not a commodity, nor even a marketable power source. Love has no territory, no borders, no quantifiable mass or energy output.

So many in today's generations .. and some past ones too - equate "love" to "sex" .. One can buy sex partners and even marriage partners. Marriage is a matter for the law, for rules and courts and property rights. In the past, the marriage price, or dowry, and in the present, alimony and the pre-nuptial agreement, make it clear that marriage is all about contracts - But as we all know, marriages, and personal relationships - Work Best When Love Is The Guide. Sexual stimulation and gratification, whether by way of fingers, mouths, objects, fantasy play, whips and chains, or just plain intercourse - can certainly be bought and sold - BUT LOVE .. TRUE LOVE .. can not be bought and sold.

"Love bears all things" (1 Cor. 13:7).

Love confronts sin but protects the sinner. In 1 Corinthians 13:7 Paul mentions four qualities of love that are closely related: bearing all things, believing all things, hoping all things, and enduring all things. That might sound like love is indiscriminate and accepting of anything that comes along, but "all things" in that verse is qualified by the context. Love rejects jealousy, bragging, arrogance, and so on (vv. 4-6), but it bears, believes, hopes, and endures all things that are within the parameters of God's Word. "Love bears all things" speaks of love's willingness to cover sins and protect sinners from further harm.

That's opposite our tabloid-mentality society in which gossip is big business and people seemingly have an insatiable appetite for exposes and "true confessions." Love seeks to protect, not expose. It confronts and disciplines sin but never broadcasts failures or wrongs. It feels the pain of those it loves and is willing to take that pain upon itself when necessary—as Christ did when He suffered for our sins.

In the Old Testament, the mercy seat was the place where the blood of atonement was sprinkled to cover the sins of the people (Lev. 16:14). That covering prefigured the perfect covering of sin that Christ brought through His death on the cross (Rom. 3:25-26). All who trust in Him are forever covered with the mantle of God's love.

You cannot cover sins in the redemptive sense, but you can help protect and restore its victims. Proverbs 10:12 says, "Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all transgressions." First Peter 4:8 says, "Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins." When you hear of someone's sin, what is your first reaction? Do you think the worst of him or even gloat over his failures? Or do you expect the best and want to protect him from further exposure, ridicule, or harm? Are you willing to confront sin when necessary and even help bear the burden that person might be carrying? How you react indicates the quality of your love.

Suggestions for Prayer .. Thank God for covering your sins with the blood of Jesus and commit yourself to loving others in a way that truly bears all things.

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