Love ”“ An Attitude
What is love?Â ”Whoever loves much, does much,” so says Thomas a ’Kempis, a medieval author. As we experience all that Christ endured for us there is little doubt that love equals a lot of action. As we stop and contemplate the events and process of Holy week during Christ’s final days on earth it is overwhelming to realize all that He went through for us. This week of events changed the world forever and gives an image of love like nothing else. This is truly the great magnificence of love beyond all comprehension; an attitude with an awe-inspiring power of action.
The word love is often used loosely as we say we love very trivial things like; I love my car, I love chocolate, I love sunny days, or whatever the thought of the moment that signifies immediate pleasure is. But love isn’t any of those things for love is far beyond a momentary emotion. Love creates a storm of transformation, a metamorphosis, a radical change in not only how we view life but in how we conduct our life. Love is more than words or a ”lip service” that holds little meaning as it equals more than an emotion. It is truly an attitude with the action of an operation in motion.
Reflecting upon the love that Christ has for us creates a major impact in our life when considered with the physical example of the sacrificial attitude that Christ gave us. He preached throughout his ministry the necessary importance of this attitude and the greater importance of depicting that love through action but did we pay attention to the lessons? Did it take the final lesson of sacrifice for us to truly see the impact?
The magnitude of our sins and attitudes sometimes are not visible until we reflect and meditate upon them making comparisons with the love Christ shows us each day. Sometimes we really need a visual reminder of exactly what damage our sin causes and the greatness of this action of tenderness that Christ gives us through His forgiveness. Young Pete received such a visual lesson over the sin of his bad temper as he clearly saw what his anger left behind.
Pete really struggled with his temper and his father wanted him to see the effects that it left behind. His father came up with an idea that he hoped would have an impact so he gave his son a bag of nails and told him that every time Pete lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the fence by the garage door. Pete complied and on that first day he drove 40 nails into the fence. During the next few weeks Pete learned to control his temper better as he found it was a lot easier to control his temper rather than to drive the nails into the fence. There finally came a day when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He was so excited that he told his father about it. So his father suggested that for each day that Pete didn’t become angry that he should pull out a nail from the fence. Eventually there came a day that the boy was able to report to his father that there were no longer any nails in the fence for they all were carefully pulled out. Father went with Pete to the fence to see and said, ”You have done well my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you become angry and lose your temper in your speech you leave a wound just like this one in the fence. It doesn’t matter how many times you say you are sorry the scar will remain there.” Pete now understood how powerful this sin is as he looked to his father and said, ”I hope you can forgive me for all the holes I put in you.”
Christ willingly took on our ”holes” as He sacrificed himself for our sins. A reminder of these sorrowful holes belong rightly beside the jubilant joy of the resurrection for there is not one without the other. The holes we made and continue to make, Jesus bore for us through His love. A love He gives as His final lesson through the visual action of attitude. The great commandment of love is both an old and new commandment, the old of the past commandments now signifies a new covenant between God and humankind.
This week our focus verse is the final commandment given by Christ to His disciples on the night before, what is known in some places, as Sorrowful Friday. Christ spoke the words on Thursday and exhibited the attitude of action on Friday. When we show a sacrificial action it not only helps brings others to know Christ but it provides all believers unity and strength. This attitude must be displayed publicly through selfless service to others as Jesus did. It is not always easy but it is the commandment that we should strive to show. Love is not an emotion; a noun of little consequence it is a verb that must be seen in action.
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. John 13:34 (NLT)
Easter finds us celebrating the results of the action of attitude that Christ exhibited for us. Because of His sacrifice we know that there is nothing that we can do to make God love us more or even less. His love is unconditional, impartial, and never-ending. As believers it is our job to not only follow the commands of Christ but to strive to be more like Him every day. In order to fulfil the last commandment of Christ we must strive to exhibit love for all people through our actions. It is then that our attitude, the attitude of love is greatly reflected in and through our actions.
This attitude requires us to forget our selfishness and instead act with a selfless love in our attitude towards others. It means to move into action when;
It’s not convenient,
and we’re tired.
This type of attitude with action is very unnatural which makes it very noticeable to others and this is what points or reflects the action back to Christ. It must be recognized though that you can’t do this alone. It is said that it is natural to love them that love us, but it is supernatural to love them that hate us. This is why you must have the supernatural source of God in order to love others with an action that goes against your natural inclinations. You have to forcibly seek this love attitude out and act upon it.
C.S. Lewis wrote in his book, Mere Christianity, that you should not waste your time attempting to feel the love for your neighbor, you just need to act like you do. He said that this is the great secret for when you behave as if you love someone you will come to love them. Setting the example of love in action often requires a sacrifice of self, coupled with seeking out the good in life. In other words, you have to seek the good and ignore the rest, this takes the help of God.
Hummingbirds and vultures both fly over deserts. The vultures look for and see the rotting meat. They live and thrive on that diet. But the hummingbirds ignore the distasteful and often putrid smell of the dead animals instead looking for the colorful blossoms of the desert plants. The vultures live on what was in the past. They gorge themselves on what is dead and gone. But the hummingbirds live on what is currently in place as they seek only new life. They fill themselves with freshness and life. Each bird will find what it is looking for as we all do. (Goodier, 1990)
Seeking to serve Christ begins with a new life. A life that is to exhibit the attitude that Christ showed us. This is an attitude with action. A love that is sacrificial. For to truly love requires a cost because it does not take, it gives.
A chaplain speaking to a soldier on a cot in a hospital said, ”You have lost an arm in the great cause.” ”No,” the soldier replied with a smile. ”I didn’t lose it, I gave it.” In that same way, Jesus didn’t lose His life. He gave it purposefully for you.
Love is a sacrificial action in which there is a price.Â This cost is a given gift that tallies on the recipients account.
It is ”“
An action that challenges you to love all people even the difficult ones.
An attitude that convicts you to act in the way that Christ acted for you.
The motivation in knowing that this attitude of action indeed makes the world go around
The comfort in realizing that you are greatly loved by a God who has sacrificed all for you.
Love in Christ,
A Most Happy and Jubilant Easter to You!
May you trulyÂ experience the lasting realization of the ultimate attitude of love through action revealed through theÂ crucifixionÂ and unveiled with theÂ resurrection of our Savior.
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: To choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s way.
Viktor Frankl, concentration camp survivor. Philippians 2:12-18.
Won’t you choose the attitude of love in action?
Credits Goodier, S. (1990, May). Quote. Reader's Digest.
What are your thoughts? Join Us in Discussion
Do you find the attitude of love through action to be easy or difficult? Have you ever struggled to love all people? Does the startling realization of what Christ exhibited through His action of attitude change the way you treat other people? Join us in discussion on the love attitude exhibited through action.