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Four Words For Love TV Ad

Anyone who has spent time in a church will have heard reference made to the differing Greek words that are translated as ‘love’ in English Bibles.
Various sermons will have made their entire points about redemption or Christian living on observations about these loves, perhaps even if in some cases the different words used don’t carry all the freight that various differentiations might allow for.

Here’s an ad that featured in the Super Bowl for an insurance company called Love Takes Action and which references “The Ancient Greeks” as having “had four words for love. The most admirable is called agápē. Love as an action.”

Their expression of the motivation for that action is contained in the ad.
It’s a secular expression of agápē that declines to mention that the “Ancient Greek” usage of it seems to have been predominantly biblical, and because of that can’t really emphasise the undeserving objects that are present in biblical explanations, a dimension which deepens the wonder of its sacrificial nature.
That’s not a criticism, but it’s a point of contrast that stands out to me.

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Love Is Kind Of Patient (via Pete Reynolds at McSweeney’s)

This is from a short (satiric) post that translates the poetic imagery of 1 Corinthians 13 to everyday life.
The introduction:

Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is kind of patient; love just needs to get in there for two seconds to brush love’s teeth. Sure, love guesses love could have gotten in there first, but you basically sprinted ahead of love. Yes, love is aware that spicy foods do not sit well with you. Love is fully aware. Love was a little too aware of that on the ride home, actually, BELIEVE love. Yes, love can be patient. Just, like, hurry it up, though.

Read the rest at McSweeney’s.

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23 Things That Love Is (via Paul Tripp)

This was featured as one of Paul Tripp’s most popular posts from last year.
I don’t think I linked to it then.
Here’s the first eight:
LOVE IS… being willing to have your life complicated by the needs and struggles of others without impatience or anger.
LOVE IS… actively fighting the temptation to be critical and judgmental toward another while looking for ways to encourage and praise.
LOVE IS… making a daily commitment to resist the needless moments of conflict that come from pointing out and responding to minor offenses.
LOVE IS… being lovingly honest and humbly approachable in times of misunderstanding.
LOVE IS… being more committed to unity and understanding than you are to winning, accusing, or being right.
LOVE IS… a making a daily commitment to admit your sin, weakness, and failure and to resist the temptation to offer an excuse or shift the blame.
LOVE IS… being willing, when confronted by another, to examine your heart rather than rising to your defense or shifting the focus.
LOVE IS… making a daily commitment to grow in love so that the love you offer to another is increasingly selfless, mature, and patient.
Read the others here.

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Mothers, Memory, And God’s Love

Mother’s Day is the starting point for this week’s Border Watch article.
The paper titled it ‘Mother’s Day Signals Reminder Of Love.’

Before our memories began we looked into our mothers’ faces, and they into ours. Mothers look upon their children with all sorts of expressions: love, devotion, pride, or joy; frustration, anger, exasperation, or concern. Their eyes can be filled with tears, sometimes happy, other times sad.
We learn about love in our mother’s arms, and their expressions guided us as we grew. A look of approval providing encouragement to proceed; arched eyes and a frown an unspoken counsel of caution to stop.
That formative relationship is why there is one expression on a mother’s face that we can never be prepared for – a lack of recognition.
For a mother to look on her children and show no signs of recognising them seems to run against all of nature. Having felt the stirring of her children within, having given birth, nourished and cared for them, a mother’s gaze is the constant in their children’s lives. People who are stoic and solid through every situation in life simply become undone when their mothers look upon them as a stranger.
Their mother looks at them simply as they look on any other and it breaks their hearts. At the beginning of our lives recognition and love grow in us under her gaze; toward the end of her life recognition may fade from her eyes, but the relationship of love remains in those she nurtured.
The recognition of our mothers is so normative that the Bible uses it as a descriptor of God’s love for His children. “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?”
The answer anticipated is, sadly, yes.
There are circumstances in life where even a mother might lose conscious memory of her own children. There is a profound sense of bereftness experienced by those who care for their parent’s physical frames while their memories are gone.
God contrasts that point of human frailty with his own faithfulness and never ending compassion. God tells his people that they never need to fear that he will forget them.
The people feared that God might forget them because of their failure and lack of love for him. He responds and reminds them that his love for them was not based on their goodness and capacity for love, but on his own nature as love.
The ultimate expression of that love is that while humanity rebelled against God, God demonstrated his love by sending Jesus as Saviour.
It’s a powerful image. No matter what you’ve done, no matter how much you deserve to be written off, God remembers his own.
As God says: “Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.”
May God bless you, whatever circumstance you find yourself in this Mother’s Day. For many it will be a day of thankfulness. For some it will be a day of joy, for others it will bring a tear, for others still perhaps both. And, if you would receive it, may the day remind you of the offer of a love that lasts forever.

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The Similarity Between Love And Grace

“Love is holy because it is like grace – the worthiness of its object is never really what matters.”
Gilead Marilynne Robinson.

I have not read this book too quickly because I’m not in a hurry for it to end.

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A Prayer For Marriages – Friends And Our Own (via Scotty Smith)

Scotty Smith continues to post a prayer a day.
This one is a standout.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Col. 3:12-14 (NIV)

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1 Thess. 5:11 (ESV)

Dear heavenly Father, failure to pray for and nourish our marriages is like failing to drink water, get sleep, or breathe air. The outcome is predictable and not pretty. There’s no other relationship on earth with greater power to expose our brokenness and reveal your grace, tap into our longings and frustrate us beyond measure, all at the same time. And there’s no other relationship, like marriage, that Satan is more determined to crash and burn.
So we come to you today, interceding for marriages — friend’s and ours. Father, forgive us for ever thinking that there was only one person in the history of the world we were “supposed” to marry. No marriage can sustain that illusion. And forgive us for ever thinking that if we’d married the “right” person, it’d be enough. No marriage can carry that burden.
You have made us for yourself, Father; and our deepest, most powerful, and most insatiable longings for relationship can only be met in you — not in any human being. So our prayer is simple and essential. Once again, Father, inundate our hearts and marriages with the only love that is better than life, the only love that will never let go of us, the only love that is enough — your lavish and liberating love for us in Jesus.
Precisely because we are “chosen, holy, and dearly loved” by you, fill our hearts and marriages with your “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Free us to forbear with each other, and forgive each other, as you so generously relate to us in Jesus. Until the day you take one of us home, help us to encourage one another and build each other up. Help us to outdo one another in kindness. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus merciful and mighty name.


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On Giving Advice Well (via Ed Welch)

Short post from Ed Welch that make a number of necessary points about the process of providing advice in a constructive way.

An excerpt:

Giving advice well
Good advice, at its best, comes only after someone has asked for it. It shows respect by listening carefully to the person’s question and asking what other advice the person has already received. It aims for give-and-take as it blends Scripture, the person’s strengths and weaknesses, the various circumstances of the moment, and humility. It prefers a consensus rather than a speech. And it follows up to see what path the person chose—love takes an interest.

Read the whole post here.