My husband and I co-wrote an article this month about marriage. It reminded of when I was a teenager. My group of friends would quote the first line of a song made famous by Frank Sinatra. “Love and marriage, love and marriage—go together like a horse and carriage.”* Love should be a vital ingredient of marriage!
“Love,” however, goes far beyond a feeling between a husband and wife. John 3:16 (NKJV) records the greatest act of love: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” I especially like the Amplified Bible, Classic Edition, “For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.”
You are greatly loved and dearly prized by God. At times, it can be tempting not to love yourself. Many people have poor self-images. David praised God’s creation in Psalm 139:14 (NKJV): “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.” It is essential to love yourself as God loves you.
Often when people make mistakes, they feel ashamed and run from God instead of running to Him. God loves you even when you make mistakes. I’m reminded of when my youngest grandson was 4 years old, how he described that love beautifully.
Wesley loved candy, and my daughter had to limit his portions. One day Denise found an empty candy wrapper on the floor. She asked Wesley if he had eaten some candy. “No,” he replied.
After questioning him, Wesley finally admitted to lying. Wanting to teach him a Bible lesson, Denise said, “God does not want you to lie.” He quickly responded, “But God loves me anyway!” Out of the mouth of babes come profound truths!
Your life may be in shambles. You may have stumbled in your walk with the Lord. But God loves you anyway. He will pick you up, brush you off, and say to you as Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more” (John 8:11 NKJV). Our Heavenly Father is a God of second chances.
God loves you even when you make mistakes. Lynette Hagin
Just as God has extended His love and forgiveness to us, we should offer love and forgiveness to others. Galatians 6:1 says, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”
The Message translation makes it clearer, “If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out.” Love does not judge; it forgives and restores.
I always follow the principle: “If I were in that situation, how would I want to be treated?” Unless you have walked in someone else’s shoes, don’t judge the decisions they make. Occasionally, I hear someone say, “If those were my children, I would do such and such.” I reply: “You don’t know what you would do unless you encountered that same situation.” It’s always better not to judge others but to love and restore them instead.
Lastly, make a point not to take family members for granted or forget to express your love and appreciation for them. It is easy to take for granted the sacrifices our parents made while they raised us. But be sure to spend time with them because they will not be with you always.
I cherish the week I spent with my dad before he passed. I was with him continuously caring for his needs. At times, I became weary. However, I am so glad I listened while he talked. Little did I know the last time I would speak to him was when I said goodbye on Saturday.
I encourage you to show love to those around you and make memories you will cherish for years to come.
* “Love and Marriage,” lyrics by Sammy Cahn and music by James Van Heusen, © 1955 Barton Music Corp.
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