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A Healthy Heart

Updated: Oct 28, 2022

February is the month in which we usually celebrate love. As Christians, many of us often refer to, quote, or paraphrase 1 Corinthians 13:4 when we talk about love: "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." When we look at this description of love, it can be somewhat daunting. It requires us to love unconditionally. It requires us to look beyond the faults of others and to love them in spite of our differences and shortcomings. If I am to be brutally honest, I must admit that I have not always shown this unconditional love in relationships with my son, my fiancé, my family, my colleagues, or my church family. I think that we all have the very best of intentions and in our hearts we want to love everyone just as it is described in 1 Corinthians; however, we often fall short. What makes it so difficult for us to love unconditionally-no strings attached? The answer to that question is our flesh-our sinful nature. Even with our best intentions, we are unable to love unconditionally. However, we do have a way in which we can become heart-healthy and that way is through Jesus. John 3:16 says: "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him, shall not perish, but have eternal life." This is love! Jesus is our example of what love is. When Jesus was asked what is the greatest commandment, He said: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All of the Law and Prophets hang on these commandments (Matthew 22:37-40)." Through this scripture, Jesus is telling us that loving God is connected to loving others. We are called to not just love others, but to love them as we love ourselves. We are told in 1 John 4:20: "Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. Thus, we are all capable of loving each other unconditionally because God loves us unconditionally. It is not always easy to show love and kindness to others, especially when people have abused or mistreated us. I think that the key to loving others is to remember how much God loves us. He is always patient and gracious to forgive us and this is how we can show love to others. Because of God's great love for us, we have salvation and hope of eternal life through Jesus-the one who gave His life for us in LOVE. My prayer is for God to guard my heart because it can be easily deceived. I want my heart to be moved by what moves God's heart, broken by what breaks God's heart, and rejoice in the things that bring God's heart joy. I pray that He creates in me a heart of flesh that will allow me to love others and serve Him: "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you: I will remove from you your heart of stone and give your a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26)."

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