Love is…

As I travel through relationships with others, I must keep in mind that recovery is a gift that keeps on giving, to restore my heart so that I might be of service to God in my interactions with those I love and have yet to love. Without working the principles of recovery, I become childish and begin to look at love as a commodity, to be manipulated out of others for my own benefit. I know this intimately because I did it for years. But love is not something to possess, like Gollum in LOTR. It is something I give away and that is given to me. It is precious, sweet and without God’s intervention, I would have no idea what it even means to give or receive authentic love.

1 Cor 13 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

   . . .

11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.[c] All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

Now, I understand that many have heard these passages before, maybe at a church meeting, wedding, or seen it on a gushy greeting card. But there are some interesting things here that I have come to realize in my recovery as a result of unpacking this passage. Shall we take a peek together?

In verse 4, we jettison creating our own reality, getting our own way and doing our own thing. When I came to recovery, I had been doing my own thing, boasting of my right to go my own way and it nearly took my life. Sound familiar? I had to take step one, and admit powerlessness over addictions and compulsive behaviors, and that my life had become unmanageable. This also included believing God could restore me to sanity and turning my life over to Him, and Him alone.

If I were to drop my record keeping of everyone who ever did me wrong (verse 5), and my human reasons to behave poorly, I would have to make a searching and fearless moral inventory and share it with someone I trust. In this way, the truth wins out, and once the old is behind me, I can move forward rejoicing in a faith that refuses to give up (verse7).

As I continue to walk in this new way of life, I pursue reconciliation in love and peace with those I may have wronged and extend love and forgiveness to those around me. Before recovery, I was an incomplete person (verse 11), I behaved in ways that did not honor God, myself or others, at times I was quite childish. Now, with the tools of recovery and God’s love firmly tucked in my heart, I am still learning and growing (verse 12). I will never be completely restored until I see Jesus face to face, but He brings me a little closer every day.

I am then able to share this new love unselfishly with those I walk with, my story of redemption, my healing and just the incredible work God has done in me. This is what we call in recovery attraction versus promotion. People see what I got and want it. They will know us by our love. If we have not love, folks, they won’t hear a stinkin’ thing we have to say. It will sound judge-y and cold. It did to me. But if love is seeping out of our pores, God’s grace and healing power will pull people out. And those ready for the miracle will step up. May we be ready and faithful.

May His love surround you tonight, and always.  ❤ ❤

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