Love Is Not Proud

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. We’ve been going through lately 1 Corinthians 13 and seeing what Paul has to say about love. Tonight, we’re going to look at the topic of “Love is proud.”

Pride. That’s a big one isn’t it? Some of us will say we don’t struggle with it and those who say they don’t could be the ones most likely to. Any time we sin, ultimately at heart it is the sin of pride. It is trying to find a good for ourselves outside of God. We are saying that our idea of the good is better than God’s idea.

A few years ago a Garfield movie came out. It was a good movie that I happen to own on DVD and if you remember, the main ad for that movie was one that fit Garfield to a T with him saying “It’s all about me.” Of course, in the movie, he ultimately found out it wasn’t all about him as he risked all he had to save his friend Odie.

For a lot of people however, that was an all too real idea. Too many people who were wearing the T-shirts that said “It’s all about me” did seem to personify that. We have been referred to as the “Me generation.” People are constantly looking out for what’s in it for them. I won’t deny that I’m just as guilty.

Today, we have an idea that the word exists for our happiness. A friend of mine in ministry told once of how his wife answered the door one day to find some Jehovah’s Witnesses and they asked her “Do you think God wants you to be happy?” to which the wife said “No.” This left the Witnesses flummoxed immediately. That answer isn’t in the book!

There was a lot of truth to what she said. Now God does want us to be happy in the sense that He truly wants our good. He does not want us to be happy in the way that many modern Americans view happiness. He does not simply want us to have warm fuzzies or always feel good about ourselves. Nothing wrong with these in themselves, but there is something wrong with making that the goal.

Our idea of happiness however usually means that we’ll be happy when the universe bends to our desires. A lot of the things that really frustrate us are things that don’t go our way. Our lives do not go according to the script that we had written up. Perhaps we should heed the advice of that great philosopher Mick Jagger who said “You can’t always get what you want.” (Though keep in mind, he also said that sometimes you get what you need.)

Just look at a lot of things that make you angry. Are they really worth getting angry over? Does the universe have to bend to your desires? Was it supposed to work out that that person in front of you at the check-out line would not question the price of every item they got? Was it required of the world that you not get behind someone going slow on the road?

What if instead we sought the joy in the other for the other? Consider how many times this can happen in marriage? My wife and I can think about couples who we have heard complaining. The husband will say “Well why don’t I get more sex from my wife?” The wife will say “It would be nice if he would help me out around the house a little bit!” Both of these could have some valid ideas. Both likely make the same mistake. The husband says “Well if she doesn’t give me what I want, why should I be expected to help with the house?” and she says “Why should I be romantic for him if he’s not willing to do anything to help me out around here?”

Yes. Why should any of you do that?

Because you’re in a covenant of love to seek the best of the other even if the other isn’t seeking your best in your eyes.

For husbands, if they will work to help even just a little bit with the housework and taking care of kids and such for their wife, their wives will see this as greatly loving and really thinking of you and when that happens, the wife will be more prone to think of her husband and want him more.

For the wife, if you are having this kind of problem with your husband, take the advice that a marriage therapist in Jennifer Roback Morse’s book “Smart Sex” gives. Spend two weeks seducing your husband. Really seek to give him what he wants. Wives left the therapist thinking she had to be crazy, but when they gave their husbands what their husbands wanted, they were shocked at the men that suddenly showed up in their lives. Their husbands were helping with the housework and getting the kids to bed and being romantic as well!

Now this doesn’t mean that you seek to please each other so that you can get what you want, as tempting as that can be. I have to remember that if I bring home flowers for the Mrs. one day, she’s not obligated to please me the way I want to be pleased. What kind of gesture would it be to get angry thinking “I did this for you and you did not get give me what I want!” That instead would show a very shallow love. Instead, the giving of the flowers is its own reward. If it leads to something more, great. If not, I should make it a point to delight in the fact that I was able to do something good for my wife.

Doing good for the other will make you draw yourself out of your world, which is where we are in pride. We get so caught up in ourselves that it is hard to see the perspective of the other and realize that the other person really does have good reasons for acting how they do and it is not a giant conspiracy on their part to annoy you.

Annoy. That’s a good word isn’t it? Most of what goes against our pride is not stuff that is really wrong or harmful. It’s more something that is annoying. Hearing the kid cry while you’re trying to take a nap or watch your favorite TV show might be annoying, but is it really something to get angry over? Does the kid owe you that time, especially if they’re too young to understand?

And what happens? You make your judgment that is temporal the final and eternal judgment and you keep feeding that negative idea. You form one negative concept in your mind and it grows and grows. It’s not enough when you see the original premise that created that idea blown out of the water. The damage is still done. Why? You started with yourself as the ultimate judge instead of God.

While I have gone after presuppositionalism on this blog, let us keep in mind that it is certainly true that all truth is God’s truth. As my pre-marital counselor told me about these struggles, it comes down to “What is truth?” It’s apologetics. The answer is not how you feel at the moment, but what is true. You need to work through how you feel to an extent, but you can’t expect a certain feeling to show up. Would God take what you are thinking at this moment and say “Yes. That is true.” If he would not, then it is not true.

And with God, wouldn’t that be a good one to lose your world in? Why not spend more time focusing on His world instead of your own? Why not seek His love instead? If you are tempted to focus on the wrongs that are done against you, why not think instead of the wrongs you’ve done against Him? See His great love for you and seek to have that kind of love for others.

Reality won’t go your way. So what? You think you’re supposed to be writing the script. Besides, the world would not be as enjoyable with our scripts. It’s those little things that often interrupt the main act that can be the most entertaining. Remember the Romans 8 passage and that while you may not like what is going on, God is able to shape it for your good. Why not trust Him to do so?

We shall continue next time.

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