Day 9, The love Dare: Love Makes Good Impressions

Love Makes Good Impressions

Greet one another with a kiss of love. –1 Peter 5:14

Today’s Dare: Love Makes Good Impressions. Greet someone today in a new way that lets them feel valued and appreciated and determine to greet everyone you meet with kindness. 

You know what the hardest thing about The Love Dare is? Doing it as a single means NOBODY is doing it with you.  That means when you’re “dying to yourself,” and “putting other people’s needs above your own,” and LAYING UNDER EVERY SPEEDING BUS THAT ROLLS YOUR WAY, nobody else is reciprocating. It’s just you.  And it gets very frustrating. And it’s also called “Christianity,” LOL, and that’s the path I've voluntarily chosen.

As Christ said, in Matthew 5:46-48, “If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

 I am learning that there are circumstances in which you can and should defend yourself in a godly way. There are also circumstances in which, for the sake of peace and out of sincere love, you should just let that bus run you over.  The Holy Spirit will tell you what battles to fight and what battles are His alone to forge.  Life is hard. LOVE is hard. Being a Christian that’s really about that life is HARD. But we “can do all things through Christ that strengthens me”!

Let’s roll this bus on to day 9!

Reading today’s assignment might have been the first one that really gave me pause. For the first time, it was really in my face how skewed I have allowed the reflection of my feelings towards other people sometimes. Why have I never noticed that when I greet a distant friend or any other relative that I always greet them with love? 99% of the time, I greet them with a kiss and a hug and yet, for those I am close too…. none of that.

The Bible has more to say about greetings than you might expect.  The apostle Paul took time to encourage his readers to greet one another warmly when they met.  In fact, near the end of his letter to the Romans, he asked fellow believers to greet twenty-seven of his friends and loved ones for him. He even took time to list each one by name.

It’s not just about your friends, however.  Jesus noted in His Sermon on the Mount that even pagans speak kindly to people they like.  That’s easy for anyone to do.  But He took it a step further and said that being godly included being humble and gracious enough to address even your enemies with kindness.

When someone communicates that they are glad to see you, your personal sense of self-worth increases.  You feel more important and valued.  That’s because a good greeting sets the stage for positive and healthy interaction. Like love, it puts wind in your sails.

More often than not familiarity can breed complacency. Back home, sometimes  my dogs are usually the happiest people to see me when I get home. Without fail they come up to me with their tails wagging, bottoms wiggling and big doggy smiles on their faces. It doesn't matter if I have been gone for a week or at the store for an hour. People need to be more like dogs. This is my resolution when it comes to my greeting others.

Remember, love is a choice.  So choose to change your greeting.  Choose love.

Day 8,The Love Dare: Love Is Not Jealous

Love Is Not Jealous

 “Love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.” Song of Solomon 8:6

Today’s Dare: Love is not Jealous.  Yesterday I made a list of someone’s negative and positive traits. Today, I’m supposed to discreetly destroy the negative list created and celebrate someone’s success.

Jealousy is one of the strongest drives known to man.  It comes from the root word for zeal and means “to burn with an intense fire.”  Scripture pointedly says, “Wrath is fierce and anger is a flood, but who can stand before jealousy?” (Proverbs 27:4).

There are actually two forms: a legitimate jealousy based upon love, and an illegitimate jealousy based upon envy.  Legitimate jealousy sparks when someone you love, who belongs to you, turns his or her heart away and replaces you with someone else.  If a wife has an affair and gives herself to another person, her husband may have justified, jealous anger because of his love for her.  He is longing to have back what is rightfully his.

The Bible describes God as having this kind of righteous jealousy for His people.  It’s not that He is envious of us, wishing He had what we have (since He already owns everything).  It’s that He deeply longs for us, desiring for us to keep Him as our first love.  He doesn't want us to let anything take precedence over Him in our hearts.  The Bible warns us not to worship anything but Him because “the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God” (Deuteronomy 4:24).

With this established, we will shift our focus to the illegitimate kind of jealousy that is in opposition to love – the one that is rooted in selfishness. This is to be jealous of someone, to be “moved with envy.”

We all need to admit that we struggle with being jealous of others sometimes. Perhaps your classmate is more popular, so you feel hatred towards her.  Your coworker gets the promotion, so you can’t sleep that night.  He may have nothing wrong, but you became bitter because of his success.  It has been said that people are fine with our succeeding, just as long as it is not more than theirs.

Jealousy is a common struggle.  It is sparked when someone else upstages you and gets something you want.  This can be very painful depending upon how selfish you are.  Instead of congratulating them, you fume in anger and think ill of them.  If you’re not careful, jealousy slithers like a viper into your heart and strikes your motivations and relationships.  It can poison you from living the life of love God intended.

If you don’t diffuse your anger by learning to love others, you may eventually begin plotting against them.  The Bible says that envy leads to fighting, quarreling, and every evil thing (James 3:16, 4:1-2).

There is a string of violent jealousy seen throughout Scripture.  It caused the first murder when Cain despised God’s acceptance of his brother’s offering. Sarah sent away her handmaiden because Hagar could bear children while Sarah could not.  Joseph’s brothers saw he was their father’s favorite, so they threw him in a pit and sold him as a slave.  Jesus was more loving, powerful, and popular than the chief priests, so they envied Him and plotted His betrayal and crucifixion.

You don’t usually get jealous of disconnected strangers.  The ones you’re tempted to jealous of are primarily in the same arena with you.  They go to your school, church,  run in your circles … or live in your house.  Yes, if you aren't careful, jealousy can also infect your friendship.

When we realize that love puts the needs of others above our own, we can refuse to let jealous creep into our hearts and we can refuse to invoke jealousy in others by bragging. Let the successes of your friends and loved ones draw you close together and let your own successes draw you closer to God by acknowledging His hand in every good thing in your life. But if selfishness rules, any good thing happening to someone else can be a catalyst for envy rather than congratulations. 

A loving husband/wife/friend/sister/brother doesn't mind the other person being better at something, having more fun, or getting more applause.  We need to see them as completing us, not competing with us.
It is time to let love, humility, and gratefulness destroy any jealousy that springs up in our heart.  It’s time to let other peoples successes draw us closer together and give us greater opportunities to show genuine love.

 My role is not to tally things up. It’s to love others like Christ loves the church. If he doesn't tally my horrible record against me, then I can’t do yours (which is actually not bad at all).  I have no right to keep records of wrongs.

I have a right to talk to people about things that upset me, but I am not the person to sit and judge.