The Message paraphrases love in a way that hits home in a different way.
Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end. Love never dies.
I’m trying to do the above and it’s been humbling to discover that I still have much to learn in how to love unconditionally in my personal relationships, ministry and work. Am grateful that we don’t have to go at it alone and that I am learning to draw from God.
Today marks a day in Malaysian history which hopefully will bring change. Protesters marched onto the streets of KL and from we can see online arrests and action by the police have been strong but by God’s grace things did not turn super ugly.
Strangely enough I feel apathetic in all that’s going on. A march/protest is a personal stand yes but true change will only happen at elections when each Malaysian casts their vote. At that’s something that remains to be seen. I personally think that we need right people and it doesn’t matter which side of the fence they sit on; whether it be Pakatan Rakyat or Barisan Nasional. The day when we vote for a candidate based on his or her character is the day when change will truly happen in our nation.
Political change is one thing; but my personal take on things is that true change can only occur if we can do the following:
One: We need to love our neighbours as ourselves; meaning we need to truly love the Malays, the Chinese, the Indians and every other race that lives in our fair land. It makes no difference if we can bring change in government if we don’t learn how to truly care for others. We need to sweep away the generations of segregation and truly learn to live as one people.
Two: Political parties should be non-segregated; after all aren’t all men created equal? In the eyes of God skin colour does not exist and I truly believe we should select men & women of character to be our leaders. Pedigree and background matter not – strength of character and the ability to hold true to promises made for the betterment of the Rakyat is what counts.
These two things are the building blocks in things to come. As long as we choose to ignore these root issues; change will only be temporary. It’s not gonna be easy. The heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart. As long as we don’t change there do you really think we’ll see lasting change?
It’s something to think about. In the meantime, do pray for every one who was out there today and especially for those who have been arrested. Pray for their quick release especially for the innocent. I’m sure there were some troublemakers out in the crowd so I guess those really should spend a bit of time locked up but if the arrests were made unjustly then free those peeps.
Here’s looking to change at the election stands if we have our general elections this year. Let’s make a difference through our votes!
I’m down with a bit of a runny nose & bad throat and have been sleeping the weekend away and playing Game Dev Story on Android. I used to get depressed a lot when I get sick but now I see it as a sign that my body needs to time out. The only thing I hate about getting sick is feeling unproductive and I still haven’t figured out if it’s possible to be productive when one is sick. Maybe the best thing to do when I’m down is to ask the Lord to lead me to a good book that I can glean from.
Anyways, here are some thoughts I have about learning to love. The apostle Peter writes this in 2 Peter 1:
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
It would seem that love stems from faith! In my own walk with God I’ve always tried my best to love but that love is very much limited and today I felt like I got hit by lightning when I read the above in my devotional. How do we grow to be more loving towards others and to ourselves? Peter seems to suggest that these characteristics come to us bit by bit as we grow our faith in God and as I reflect on it this morning it’s very true for me. Every good quality I have has grown bit by bit in pretty much the order above.
It’s still hard to love and persevering to love someone who rejects and pushes you away is the toughest thing to do. It’s hard. It’s hard to love my cell members. It’s hard to love my colleagues. It’s even harder to love my family members and closest friends. In our imperfection, it’s so easy to hurt others with our words and our actions and I’ve been burned many times. It’s hard to hold our tongues or to remain patient. It’s difficult but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth and the truth is there is no way we can love others fully unless we have more and more of God in us.
I’m still far from perfect in love. But the awesome news is that it doesn’t take very much to have more love in my life because all I need to do is build up my faith in God and in His Son, Yeshua. That doesn’t mean I won’t get angry or frustrated but I need to learn how to channel my anger & frustration healthily and I need to learn how to express it properly too at work and in the closer friendship & relationships I have in my life.
It may seem strange but somehow faith equals love.
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 WHATEVER GRIEVANCES you may have against one another. FORGIVE AS THE LORD FORGAVE YOU. And over all these virtues put on LOVE which binds them all together in perfect unity.
An Angry & Bitter Whiplash
It’s tough to put aside offense and it’s especially tough when we’ve done nothing to incur the spite of others. Taking a cue from the latest Iron Man flick, Ivan Vanko (Whiplash) was a man full of bitterness, anger & grief. The thing is… how did he get that way? It didn’t just happen overnight and if we parallel the events of this comic book turned big screen character to real life it’d be the same for us as people. Bitterness is a nasty thing. It creeps in on us and before we know it we are crippled by an anger that keeps us from moving on in life. It’s tough to let go of our right to be angry but after having gone through some bitterness & anger in my life I’ve discovered that it’s just not worth it. It’s far better to just let go cos’ the only one who suffers in bitterness is ourselves.
What if Whiplash had just chosen to forgive? What if he had chosen to just move on? We discover in the course of the movie that Vanko was just as brilliant as Tony Stark and he could’ve been someone who could’ve made a difference in his homeland of Russia. Sure, we wouldn’t have a slam-bang slugfest between Iron Man & Whiplash if they had settled their differences but real-life just doesn’t work that way. Do we truly want a slam-bang slugfest with other individuals in our lives? What good does it do anyone?
Vanko Planning His Revenge
The Bible teaches me to do it different and the killer secret here is that we are asked to just forgive. Forgiveness is something that I understand a lot more these days. There are just so many things that I can take offense at but by applying forgiveness in my life I find that my heart is lighter and I am a much happier person. What matters more to me is my relationship with my Father in Heaven and what He thinks of me. He loved and forgive us first so wouldn’t it be right for us to do the same for others? In the light of all this harbouring ill-feelings towards others just doesn’t make sense.
*Sighs happily* Pixar makes the greatest animated flicks. I picked up a copy of Wall-E yesterday after hitting Machines in 1U to swap my defective copy of Snow Leopard for a new one.
What prompted this purchase? Well, I caught some of this brilliant movie last weekend on ASTRO whilst celebrating Nineoverten‘s birthday and it looked terrible in low-res which got me to thinking about picking this one up a.s.a.p. I caught this movie when it first came out and I thought it was genius how they communicated so much with so little dialogue from both EVE and Wall-E.
Love is about thinking about others more than ourselves and at the heart of its environmental message Wall-E also has a touching love story between a boy & a girl. It really warmed my heart to watch the lovable Wall-E melt EVE’s heart.
Boy… it was great watching Wall-E in 1080p. The colours were vibrant and it was great watching the animated short BURN-E (you’ve just gotta YouTube it up). I have yet to go through the bonus disc but I’m glad I picked Wall-E up cos’ it’s a great movie made even better in high-resolution. At RM120 I think it’s a worthwhile purchase for a movie-phile like me.
I had Toy Story 1 & 2 playing in the background today whilst ploughing through my email and it was nice revisiting old characters from some of Pixar’s early films. In fact Cars is playing in the background even as I write this post. I love Pixar. Stories always come first and the awesome CG is just the icing on the cake.
I give this revisit of Wall-E & Pixar a 5 out of 5.
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 whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Most if not all of the things we learn from the Bible is counter cultural. In a world that preaches self and individual rights; very often we forget that putting self first perpetuates the messed-upness of the world we live in. Compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience are not seen as strengths but as weaknesses. And when it comes to forgiving others, most of us don’t truly understand the forgiveness that we have received from up high. Which is why it is so difficult for us to forgive.
I found it very difficult to forgive until I realised one day that I myself needed forgiveness. The best part is that I have been given that forgiveness for no other reason than God extending it to me out of the bigness and goodness of His heart. It’s alien to forgive. It’s more in our nature as fallen beings to take our anger out on someone. Forgiveness is a lesson that I learn every day and sometimes it just feels like I’m being stepped all over by people. Even thought it feels like that; my head and heart tells me it’s the right thing to do because of the forgiveness that I myself have received. Along the way I’ve learned these 2 lessons:
Unforgiveness hurts us emotionally & physically.
Unforgiveness traps us in the past.
Unforgiveness keeps us from moving on.
On the flip-side, having the humility to ask for forgiveness is a difficult thing to do as well. We are prideful creatures full of ourselves and damages our egos to say we’re sorry. I’ll be honest to say that I can’t stand to be wrong as much as any other person but I’d like to believe that I have learnt more in the past few years on being able to admin my wrongs & mistakes. The hard part is approaching that person and saying I’m sorry; mostly because I just don’t know how that other person would respond. From first-hand experience forgiveness is something not that easy to give and in my personal experience to ask for forgiveness from someone feels like I’m waiting to be judged or pardoned. I get an anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach which makes me very, very uncomfortable.
It’s tough both ways whether we’re asking or giving forgiveness but nevertheless it is the right thing to do to bridge the gaps we often face in our relationships & friendships.
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love
has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
Tough love. That’s what I call the above. Laying down our lives for others. I honestly don’t know if I’m able to do the above. Am learning how to love even when it hurts and it’s hard. In fact there are many times when I feel like giving up and I question the fruitfulness of it all.
It’s easy to love when you are loved back. It’s way harder to love when it feels like all you do is being thrown back at you or even worse when it’s not reciprocated. Tough love cannot be described, it can only be felt and I suppose that’s why we are commanded to love.
When it comes to the crunch, love is a decision that needs to be followed through.