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    LOVE

    Newspaper columnist and minister George Crane tells of a wife who came into his office full of hatred toward her husband. "I do not only want to get rid of him, I want to get even. Before I divorce him, I want to hurt him as much as he has me."

    Dr. Crane suggested an ingenious plan "Go home and act as if you really love your husband. Tell him how much he means to you. Praise him for every decent trait. Go out of your way to be as kind, considerate, and generous as possible. Spare no efforts to please him, to enjoy him. Make him believe you love him. After you've convinced him of your undying love and that you cannot live without him, then drop the bomb. Tell him that your're getting a divorce. That will really hurt him." With revenge in her eyes, she smiled and exclaimed, "Beautiful, beautiful. Will he ever be surprised!" And she did it with enthusiasm. Acting "as if." For two months she showed love, kindness, listening, giving, reinforcing, sharing. When she didn't return, Crane called. "Are you ready now to go through with the divorce?"

    "Divorce?" she exclaimed. "Never! I discovered I really do love him." Her actions had changed her feelings. Motion resulted in emotion. The ability to love is established not so much by fervent promise as often repeated deeds. 

    J. Allan Petersen.


    Looking for a gift or just a unique way to say "I love you?" What do you give when his dresser is full of cologne and you're both on diets? When she thinks flowers die too soon, and you've already spent next month's paycheck? Here are 21 great inexpensive ways to tell the love of your life just how much you care.

    1. Make a homemade card with a picture of the two of you on the cover. Get ideas for a verse by spending a few minutes browsing through a card shop.

    2. Write a poem. It doesn't have to rhyme.

    3. Send a love letter listing the reasons "Why I love you so much."

    4. Pledge your love for a lifetime. Write it on calligraphy or design it on a desktop computer and print it out on parchment paper and have it framed.

    5. Plan a surprise lunch, complete with picnic basket, sparkling grape juice and goblets.

    6. Bake a giant cookie and write "I love you" with heart shaped redhots or frosting. (Don't worry about the calories, it's not for eating!)

    7. Make a coupon book and include coupons for a back rub, a compromise when about to lose an argument, a listening ear when needed, and doing the dishes when the other cooks.

    8. Kidnap the car for a thorough washing and detailing.

    9. Design your personal crest combining symbols that are meaningful to both of you.

    10. Compose a love song.

    11. Arrange for someone to sing a favorite love song to you and your love when you're together.

    12. Call a radio station and have them announce a love message from you and make sure your love is listening at the right time.

    13. Make a big sign such as: "I Love You, Kristi. Love, Joe" and put it in front of your house or her apartment complex for the world to see.

    14. Buy favorite fruits that aren't in season, like a basket of strawberries or blueberries.

    15. Hide little love notes in the car, a coat pocket, or desk.

    16. Place a love message in the "personal" section of the classified ads in your local paper.

    17. Florist flowers aren't the only way to say "I love you." Pluck a single flower and write a message about how its beauty reminds you of your love. For greater impact, have it delivered at work.

    18. Prepare a surprise candle light gourmet low-calorie dinner for two.

    19. Write the story of the growth of your relationship from your perspective, sharing your emotions and your joys. What a treasure!

    20. Make a paperweight from a smooth stone, paint it, and write a special love message on it.

    21. Promise to change a habit that your love has been wanting you to change.

    Family Matters.


    In his book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis wrote, "Do not waste your time bothering whether you 'love' your neighbor act as if you did. As soon as we do this, we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less."

    Our Daily Bread, February 14.


    Two weeks after the stolen steak deal, I took Helen (eight years old) and Brandon (five years old) to the Cloverleaf Mall in Hattiesburg to do a little shopping. As we drove up, we spotted a Peterbilt eighteen-wheeler parked with a big sign on it that said, "Petting Zoo." The kids jumped up in a rush and asked, "Daddy, Daddy. Can we go? Please. Please. Can we go?"

    "Sure," I said, flipping them both a quarter before walking into Sears. They bolted away, and I felt free to take my time looking for a scroll saw. A petting zoo consists of a portable fence erected in the mall with about six inches of sawdust and a hundred little furry baby animals of all kinds. Kids pay their money and stay in the enclosure enraptured with the squirmy little critters while their moms and dads shop.

    A few minutes later, I turned around and saw Helen walking along behind me. I was shocked to see she preferred the hardware department to the petting zoo. Recognizing my error, I bent down and asked her what was wrong.

    She looked up at me with those giant limpid brown eyes and said sadly, "Well, Daddy, it cost fifty cents. So, I gave Brandon my quarter." Then she said the most beautiful thing I ever heard. She repeated the family motto. The family motto is in "Love is Action!"

    She had given Brandon her quarter, and no one loves cuddly furry creatures more than Helen. She had watched Sandy take my steak and say, "Love is Action!" She had watched both of us do and say "Love is Action!" for years around the house and Kings Arrow Ranch. She had heard and seen "Love is Action," and now she had incorporated it into her little lifestyle. It had become part of her.

    What do you think I did? Well, not what you might think. As soon as I finished my errands, I took Helen to the petting zoo. We stood by the fence and watched Brandon go crazy petting and feeding the animals. Helen stood with her hands and chin resting on the fence and just watched Brandon. I had fifty cents burning a hole in my pocket; I never offered it to Helen, and she never asked for it.

    Because she knew the whole family motto. It's not "Love is Action." It's "Love is SACRIFICIAL Action!" Love always pays a price. Love always costs something. Love is expensive. When you love, benefits accrue to another's account. Love is for you, not for me. Love gives; it doesn't grab. Helen gave her quarter to Brandon and wanted to follow through with her lesson. She knew she had to taste the sacrifice. She wanted to experience that total family motto. Love is sacrificial action.

    Dave Simmons, Dad, The Family Coach, Victor Books, 1991, pp. 123-124.


    The Greek word agape (love) seems to have been virtually a Christian invention -- a new word for a new thing (apart from about twenty occurrences in the Greek version of the Old Testament, it is almost non-existent before the New Testament). Agape draws its meaning directly from the revelation of God in Christ. It is not a form of natural affection, however, intense, but a supernatural fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22). It is a matter of will rather than feeling (for Christians must love even those they dislike -- Matt. 5:44-48). It is the basic element in Christ-likeness.

    Read 1 Corinthians 13 and note what these verses have to say about the primacy (vv. 1-3) and permanence (vv. 8-13) of love; note too the profile of love (vv. 4-7) which they give.

    James Packer, Your Father Loves You, Harold Shaw Publishers, 1986.


    You can see them alongside the shuffleboard courts in Florida or on the porches of the old folks' homes up north: an old man with snow-white hair, a little hard of hearing, reading the newspaper through a magnifying glass; an old woman in a shapeless dress, her knuckles gnarled by arthritis, wearing sandals to ease her aching arches. They are holding hands, and in a little while they will totter off to take a nap, and then she will cook supper, not a very good supper and they will watch television, each knowing exactly what the other is thinking, until it is time for bed. They may even have a good, soul-stirring argument, just to prove that they still really care. And through the night they will snore unabashedly, each resting content because the other is there. They are in love, they have always been in love, although sometimes they would have denied it. And because they have been in love they have survived everything that life could throw at them, even their own failures.

    Ernest Havemann, Bits & Pieces, June 24, 1993, pp. 7-9.


    It's very human to begin looking for something and then forget what you're looking for. Tennessee Williams tells a story of someone who forgot -- the story of Jacob Brodzky, a shy Russian Jew whose father owned a bookstore. The older Brodzky wanted his son to go to college. The boy, on the other hand, desired nothing but to marry Lila, his childhood sweetheart -- a French girl as effusive, vital, and ambitious as he was contemplative and retiring. A couple of months after young Brodzky went to college, his father fell ill and died. The son returned home, buried his father, and married his love. Then the couple moved into the apartment above the bookstore, and Brodzky took over its management. The life of books fit him perfectly, but it cramped her. She wanted more adventure -- and she found it, she thought, when she met an agent who praised her beautiful singing voice and enticed her to tour Europe with a vaudeville company. Brodzky was devastated. At their parting, he reached into his pocket and handed her the key to the front door of the bookstore.

    "You had better keep this," he told her, "because you will want it some day. Your love is not so much less than mine that you can get away from it. You will come back sometime, and I will be waiting." She kissed him and left. To escape the pain he felt, Brodzky withdrew deep into his bookstore and took to reading as someone else might have taken to drink. He spoke little, did little, and could most times be found at the large desk near the rear of the shop, immersed in his books while he waited for his love to return.

    Nearly 15 years after they parted, at Christmastime, she did return. But when Brodzky rose from the reading desk that had been his place of escape for all that time, he did not take the love of his life for more than an ordinary customer. "Do you want a book?" he asked.

    That he didn't recognize her startled her. But she gained possession of herself and replied, "I want a book, but I've forgotten the name of it." Then she told him a story of childhood sweethearts. A story of a newly married couple who lived in an apartment above a bookstore. A story of a young, ambitious wife who left to seek a career, who enjoyed great success but could never relinquish the key her husband gave her when they parted. She told him the story she thought would bring him to himself.

    But his face showed no recognition. Gradually she realized that he had lost touch with his heart's desire, that he no longer knew the purpose of his waiting and grieving, that now all he remembered was the waiting and grieving itself. "You remember it; you must remember it -- the story of Lila and Jacob?"

    After a long, bewildered pause, he said, "There is something familiar about the story, I think I have read it somewhere. It comes to me that it is something by Tolstoi." Dropping the key, she fled the shop. And Brodzky returned to his desk, to his reading, unaware that the love he waited for had come and gone.

    Tennessee Williams's 1931 story "Something by Tolstoi" reminds me how easy it is to miss love when it comes. Either something so distracts us or we have so completely lost who we are and what we care about that we cannot recognize our heart's desire. 

    Signs of the Times, June, 1993, p. 11.


    Ted Stallard undoubtedly qualifies as the one of "the least." Turned off by school. Very sloppy in appearance. Expressionless. Unattractive. Even his teacher, Miss Thompson, enjoyed bearing down her red pen -- as she placed Xs beside his many wrong answers.

    If only she had studied his records more carefully. They read:

    1st grade: Ted shows promise with his work and attitude, but (has) poor home situation.

    2nd grade: Ted could do better. Mother seriously ill. Receives little help from home.

    3rd grade: Ted is good boy but too serious. He is a slow learner. His mother died this year.

    4th grade: Ted is very slow, but well-behaved. His father shows no interest whatsoever.

    Christmas arrived. The children piled elaborately wrapped gifts on their teacher's desk. Ted brought one too. It was wrapped in brown paper and held together with Scotch Tape. Miss Thompson opened each gift, as the children crowded around to watch. Out of Ted's package fell a gaudy rhinestone bracelet, with half of the stones missing, and a bottle of cheap perfume. The children began to snicker. But she silenced them by splashing some of the perfume on her wrist, and letting them smell it. She put the bracelet on too.

    At day's end, after the other children had left, Ted came by the teacher's desk and said, "Miss Thompson, you smell just like my mother. And the bracelet looks real pretty on you. I'm glad you like my presents." He left. Miss Thompson got down on her knees and asked God to forgive her and to change her attitude.

    The next day, the children were greeted by a reformed teacher -- one committed to loving each of them. Especially the slow ones. Especially Ted. Surprisingly -- or maybe, not surprisingly, Ted began to show great improvement. He actually caught up with most of the students and even passed a few.

    Time came and went. Miss Thompson heard nothing from Ted for a long time. Then, one day, she received this note:

    Dear Miss Thompson:

    I wanted you to be the first to know. I will be graduating second in my class.

    Love, Ted

    Four years later, another note arrived:

    Dear Miss Thompson:

    They just told me I will be graduating first in my class. I wanted you to be first to know. The university has not been easy, but I liked it.

    Love, Ted

    And four years later:

    Dear Miss Thompson:

    As of today, I am Theodore Stallard, M.D. How about that? I wanted you to be the first to know. I am getting married next month, the 27th to be exact. I want you to come and sit where my mother would sit if she were alive. You are the only family I have now; Dad died last year.

    Miss Thompson attended that wedding, and sat where Ted's mother would have sat. The compassion she had shown that young man entitled her to that privilege.

    Let's have some real courage, and start giving to "one of the least." He may become a Ted Stallard. Even if that doesn't happen, we will have been faithful to the One who has always treated us -- as unworthy as we are -- like very special people.

    Jon Johnston, Courage - You Can Stand Strong in the Face of Fear, 1990, SP Publications, pp. 111-113.


    During the 17th century, Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England, sentenced a soldier to be shot for his crimes. The execution was to take place at the ringing of the evening curfew bell. However, the bell did not sound. The soldier's fiancÚ had climbed into the belfry and clung to the great clapper of the bell to prevent it from striking. When she was summoned by Cromwell to account for her actions, she wept as she showed him her bruised and bleeding hands. Cromwell's heart was touched and he said, "Your lover shall live because of your sacrifice. Curfew shall not ring tonight!" 

    Our Daily Bread.


    What is love?

    Asks the child untouched

    Whose mother's hand he clutched

    His tender heart knows only Trust

    Feels only love, knows not of Lust.

    What is love?

    Asks the blossoming soul

    Questioning her life's role

    Struggling to separate

    Infatuation from love's fate.

    What is love?

    Asks the youth enlightened

    Remembering passion heightened 

    Wondering if is was an act of Love

    Or if not approved by those Above

    What is love?

    Asks the united one

    Whose ring reflects the golden Sun

    Hoping it will last forever

    That they will always remain Together

    What is love?

    Asks the furrowed face

    Moving at a withering pace

    "It has remained all around me.

    To its treasure I've not found

    The key."

    What is love?

    I cannot explain

    It includes extremes of

    Happiness and pain

    I will never understand love's

    Many hues

    Yet I will always know that I

    Love you...

    Anna Smith - Lind High School, 1993.


    Why do toymakers watch the divorce rate? When it rises, so do toy sales. According to the analyzers, four parents and eight grandparents tend to compete for children's affections, so buy toys. 

    L.M. Boyd, Spokesman Review, March 15, 1993.


    A few years ago, the Harry S. Truman Library in Independence, MO made public 1,300 recently discovered letters that the late President wrote to his wife, Bess, over the course of a half-century. Mr. Truman had a lifelong rule of writing to his wife every day they were apart. He followed this rule whenever he was away on official business or whenever Bess left Washington to visit her beloved Independence. Scholars are examining the letters for any new light they may throw on political and diplomatic history. For our part, we were most impressed by the simple fact that every day he was away, the President of the United States took time out from his dealing with the world's most powerful leaders to sit down and write a letter to his wife. 

    Bits & Pieces, October 15, 1992, pp. 15-16.


    During World War II, Hitler commanded all religious groups to unite so that he could control them. Among the Brethren assemblies, half complied and half refused. Those who went along with the order had a much easier time. Those who did not, faced harsh persecution. In almost every family of those who resisted, someone died in a concentration camp. When the war was over, feelings of bitterness ran deep between the groups and there was much tension. Finally they decided that the situation had to be healed. Leaders from each group met at a quiet retreat. For several days, each person spent time in prayer, examining his own heart in the light of Christ's commands. Then they came together.

    Francis Schaeffer, who told of the incident, asked a friend who was there, "What did you do then?" "We were just one," he replied. As they confessed their hostility and bitterness to God and yielded to His control, the Holy Spirit created a spirit of unity among them. Love filled their hearts and dissolved their hatred.

    When love prevails among believers, especially in times of strong disagreement, it presents to the world an indisputable mark of a true follower of Jesus Christ. 

    Our Daily Bread, October 4, 1992.


    Seoul -- At his father's funeral, American Carl Lewis placed his 100-meter gold medal from the 1984 Olympics in his father's hands. "Don't worry," he told his surprised mother. "I'll get another one."

    A year later, in the 100-meter final at the 1988 games, Lewis was competing against Canadian world-record-holder Ben Johnson. Halfway through the race Johnson was five feet in front. Lewis was convinced he could catch him. But at 80 meters, he was still five feet behind. It's over, Dad, Lewis thought. As Johnson crossed the finish, he stared back at Lewis and thrust his right arm in the air, index finger extended. Lewis was exasperated. He had noticed Johnson's bulging muscles and yellow-tinged eyes, both indications of steroid use.

    "I didn't have the medal, but I could still give to my father by acting with class and dignity," Lewis said later. He shook Johnson's hand and left the track. But then came the announcement that Johnson had tested positive for anabolic steroids. He was stripped of his medal. The gold went to Lewis, a replacement for the medal he had given his father.

    David Wallechinsky in The Complete Book of the Olympics, Reader's Digest.


    She was lying on the ground. In her arms she held a tiny baby girl. As I put a cooked sweet potato into her outstretched hand, I wondered if she would live until morning. Her strength was almost gone, but her tired eyes acknowledged my gift. The sweet potato could help so little -- but it was all I had.

    Taking a bite she chewed it carefully. Then, placing her mouth over her baby's mouth, she forced the soft warm food into the tiny throat. Although the mother was starving, she used the entire potato to keep her baby alive. Exhausted from her effort, she dropped her head on the ground and closed her eyes. In a few minutes the baby was asleep. I later learned that during the night the mother's heart stopped, but her little girl lived.

    Love is a costly thing. God in His love for us (and for a lost world) "spared not His own Son" to tell the world of His love. Love is costly, but we must tell the world at any cost. Such love is costly. It costs parents and sons and daughters. It costs the missionary life itself. In his love for Christ the missionary often must give up all to make the Savior known. If you will let your love for Christ, cost you something, the great advance will be made together.

    Remember, love is a costly thing. Do you love enough?

    Dick Hills, Love is a Costly Thing.


    Show me a church where there is love, and I will show you a church that is a power in the community. In Chicago a few years ago a little boy attended a Sunday school I know of. When his parents moved to another part of the city the little fellow still attended the same Sunday school, although it meant a long, tiresome walk each way. A friend asked him why he went so far, and told him that there were plenty of others just as good nearer his home.

    "They may be as good for others, but not for me," was his reply.

    "Why not?" she asked.

    "Because they love a fellow over there," he replied.

    If only we could make the world believe that we loved them there would be fewer empty churches, and a smaller proportion of our population who never darken a church door. Let love replace duty in our church relations, and the world will soon be evangelized.

    Moody's Anecdotes, pp. 71-72.


    No more convincing evidence of the absence of parental affection exists than that compiled by Rene Spitz. In a South American orphanage, Spitz observed and recorded what happened to 97 children who were deprived of emotional and physical contact with others. Because of a lack of funds, there was not enough staff to adequately care for these children, ages 3 months to 3 years old. Nurses changed diapers and fed and bathed the children. But there was little time to hold, cuddle, and talk to them as a mother would. After three months many of them showed signs of abnormality. Besides a loss of appetite and being unable to sleep well, many of the children lay with a vacant expression in their eyes. After five months, serious deterioration set in.

    They lay whimpering, with troubled and twisted faces. Often, when a doctor or nurse would pick up an infant, it would scream in terror. Twenty seven, almost one third, of the children died the first year, but not from lack of food or health care. They died of a lack of touch and emotional nurture. Because of this, seven more died the second year. Only twenty one of the 97 survived, most suffering serious psychological damage. 

    Charles Sell, Unfinished Business, Multnomah, 1989, p. 39.


    I stand by the bed where a young woman lies, her face postoperative, her mouth twisted in palsy, clownish. A tiny twig of the facial nerve, the one to the muscles of her mouth, has been severed. She will be thus from now on. The surgeon had followed with religious fervor the curve of her flesh; I promise you that. Nevertheless, to remove the tumor in her cheek, I had to cut the little nerve. Her young husband is in the room. He stands on the opposite side of the bed and together they seem to dwell in the evening lamplight, isolated from me, private. Who are they, I ask myself, he and this wry mouth I have made, who gaze at and touch each other so generously, greedily? 

    The young woman speaks. "Will my mouth always be like this?" she asks.

    "Yes," I say, "it will. It is because the nerve was cut." 

    She nods and is silent. But the young man smiles. "I like it," he says, "It is kind of cute." All at once I know who he is. I understand and I lower my gaze. One is not bold in an encounter with a god. Unmindful, he bends to kiss her crooked mouth and I am so close I can see how he twists his own lips to accommodate to hers, to show her that their kiss still works. 

    Richard Selzer, M.D., Mortal Lessons: Notes on the Art of Surgery, 1978, pp. 45-6.


    Whoever loves much, does much. 

    Thomas a' Kempis.


    To love at all is to be venerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin or your selfishness. But in that casket--safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable...The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers...of love is Hell. 

    C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves, Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1960, p.169.


    "I have no misgivings about or lack of confidence in the cause in which I am engaged and my courage does not falter. I know how American civilization leans upon the triumph of the government. I know how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the suffering of the Revolution. And I am willing, perfectly willing, to lay down the joys of this life to help maintain this government and to help pay that debt. 

    Sarah, my love for you is deathless. It seems to bind me with many cables that nothing but Omnipotence can break. And yet my love of country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me irresistibly with all those chains to the battlefield. The memory of all those blissful moments I have enjoyed with you come crowding over me, and I feel most grateful to God and you that I have enjoyed them for so long. And how hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the future years, when God willing, we might have loved and lived together, and watched our boys grow up around us to honorable manhood. If I do not return my dear Sarah, never forget how much I loved you nor that when my last breath escapes me on the battlefield it will whimper your name."

    Major Sullivan Ballou, of the Union Army, to his wife Sarah. One week later, Major Ballou was killed at the first battle of Bull Run.


    For 36 years Jeno and his wife delighted in one another. But one day Jeno suffered a stroke. For weeks he lay in the hospital, slipping in and out of a coma. Day and night his wife sat at his side. One evening, she put her head on his hand and fell asleep.

    Jeno awoke during the night and seeing his wife, picked up an envelope and pencil and scribbled these words: "Softly, I will leave you, for my heart would break if you should wake and see me go. So I leave you. Long before you miss me. Long before your arms can beg me stay for one more hour, one more day. After all of the years, I can't stand the tears to fall, so I leave you softly." 

    Today in the Word, February, 1991, p. 32.


    Is there a hell?

    Once upon a time a person was touched by God, and God gave him a priceless gift. This gift was the capacity for love. He was grateful and humble, and he knew what an extraordinary thing had happened to him. He carried it like a jewel and he walked tall and with purpose. From time to time he would show this gift to others, and they would smile and stroke his jewel. But it seemed that they'd also dirty it up a little. Now, this was no way to treat such a precious thing, so the person built a box to protect his jewel. And he decided to show it only to those who would treat it with respect and meet it with reverent love of their own.

    Even that didn't work, for some tried to break into the box. So he built a bigger, stronger box--one that no one could get into--and the man felt good. At last he was protecting the jewel as it should be. Upon occasion, when he decided that someone had earned the right to see it, he'd show it proudly. But they sometimes refused, or kind of smudged it, or just glanced at it disinterestedly.

    Much time went by, and then only once in awhile would one pass by the man, the aging man; he would pat his box and say, "I have the loveliest of jewels in here." Once or twice he opened the box and offered it saying, "Look and see. I want you to." And the passerby would look and look, and look. And then he would back away from the old man, shaking his head.

    The man died, and he went to God, and he said, "You gave me a precious gift many years ago, and I've kept it safe, and it is as lovely as the day you gave it to me." And he opened the box and held it out to God. He glanced in it, and in it was a lizard--an ugly, laughing lizard. And God walked away from him.

    Yes, there is a hell. 

    Lois Cheney, God is no Fool, p. 33-4.


    If we discovered that we had five minutes left to say all we wanted to say, every telephone booth would be occupied by people calling other people to stammer that they love them. Why wait until the last five minutes? 

    C. Morley, in Homemade, July, 1990.


    The teacher in our adult-education creative-writing class told us to write "I love you" in 25 words or less, without using the words "I love you." She gave us 15 minutes. A woman in the class spent about ten minutes looking at the ceiling and wriggling in her seat. The last five minutes she wrote frantically, and later read us the results:

    "Why, I've seen lots worse haridos than that, honey."

    "These cookies are hardly burned at all."

    "Cuddle up-I'll get your feet warm."

    Charlotte Mortimer, in February 1990 Reader's Digest.


    In The Christian Leader,  Don Ratzlaff retells a story Vernon Grounds came across in Ernest Gordon's Miracle on the River Kwai. The Scottish soldiers, forced by their Japanese captors to labor on a jungle railroad, had degenerated to barbarous behavior, but one afternoon something happened.

    "A shovel was missing. The officer in charge became enraged. He demanded that the missing shovel be produced, or else. When nobody in the squadron budged, the officer got his gun and threatened to kill them all on the spot . . . It was obvious the officer meant what he had said. Then, finally, one man stepped forward. The officer put away his gun, picked up a shovel, and beat the man to death. When it was over, the survivors picked up the bloody corpse and carried it with them to the second tool check. This time, no shovel was missing. Indeed, there had been a miscount at the first check point.

    "The word spread like wildfire through the whole camp. An innocent man had been willing to die to save the others! . . . The incident had a profound effect. . . The men began to treat each other like brothers.

    "When the victorious Allies swept in, the survivors, human skeletons, lined up in front of their captors . . (and instead of attacking their captors) insisted: 'No more hatred. No more killing. Now what we need is forgiveness.'"

    Don Ratzlaff, The Christian Leader.


    Sacrificial love has transforming power. Genuine love is volitional rather than emotional. The person who truly loves does so because of a decision to love. This person has made a commitment to be loving whether or not the loving feeling is present. It if is, so much the better; but if it isn't, the commitment to love, the will to love, still stands and is still exercised. Conversely, it is not only possible but necessary for a loving person to avoid acting on feelings of love. I may meet a woman who strongly attracts me, whom I feel like loving, but because it would be destructive to my marriage to have an affair, I will say vocally or in the silence of my heart, "I feel like loving you, but I am not going to." My feelings of love may be unbounded, but my capacity to be loving is limited. I therefore must choose the person on whom to focus my capacity to love, toward whom to direct my will to love. True love is not a feeling by which we are overwhelmed. It is a committed, thoughtful decision. 

    Dr. M. Scott Peck.


    If a man loves a woman for her beauty, does he love her? No; for the small-pox, which destroys her beauty without killing her, causes his love to cease. And if any one loves me for my judgment or my memory, does he really love me? No; for I can lose these qualities without ceasing to be. 

    Pascal.


    There is not much difference lexically between agapaO and phileO. Both involve a voluntary (I've decided to love you) and involuntary (I can't help but love you) response. One point: there is no command to love in scripture that ever uses phileO.

    Source Unknown.


    In essentials, unity.

    In non-essentials, liberty.

    In all things, charity.

    Augustine.


    What is love?

    It is silence--when your words would hurt.

    It is patience--when your neighbor's curt.

    It is deafness--when a scandal flows.

    It is thoughtfulness--for other's woes.

    It is promptness--when stern duty calls.

    It is courage--when misfortune falls.

     

    Source Unknown.

     


    It is natural to love them that love us, but it is supernatural to love them that hate us.

    Source Unknown.


    He prayeth best who loveth best

    All things both great and small;

    For the dear God who loveth us,

    He made and loveth all.

    Samuel T. Coleridge.


    Love ever gives.

    Forgives, outlives,

    And ever stands

    With open hands.

    And while it lives,

    It gives,

    For this is love's perogative--

    To give, and give, and give.

    Oxenham.


    On the whole, God's love for us is a much safer subject to think about than our love for Him. 

    C.S. Lewis.


    Love-letter lament:

    Dearest Jimmy,

    No words could ever express the great unhappiness I've felt since breaking our engagement. Please say you'll take me back. No one could ever take your place in my heart, so please forgive me. I love you, I love you, I love you! Yours forever, Marie.

    P.S., And congratulations on willing the state lottery.

    Source Unknown.


    On ingenious teenager, tired of reading bedtime stories to his little sister, decided to record several of her favorite stories on tape. He told her, "now you can hear your stories anytime you want. Isn't that great?" She looked at the machine for a moment and then replied, "No. It hasn't got a lap."

    Source Unknown.


    Some years ago, Dr. Karl Menninger, noted doctor and psychologist, was seeking the cause of many of his patients' ills. One day he called in his clinical staff and proceeded to unfold a plan for developing, in his clinic, an atmosphere of creative love. All patients were to be given large quantities of love; no unloving attitudes were to be displayed in the presence of the patients, and all nurses and doctors were to go about their work in and out of the various rooms with a loving attitude. At the end of six months, the time spent by patients in the institution was cut in half.

    Source Unknown.


    Love at first sight is easy to understand. It's when two people have been looking at each other for years that it becomes a miracle. 

    Sam Levenson, You Don't Have to Be in Who's Who to Know What's What.


    Being in love is a good thing, but it is not the best thing...Love...is a deep unity maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habits reinforced by the grace which both partners ask and receive from God...On this love the engine of marriage is run; being in love was the explosion that started it. 

    C.S. Lewis.


    There is nothing you can to do make God love you more! There is nothing you can do to make God love you less! His love is Unconditional, Impartial, Everlasting, Infinite, Perfect!

    Richard C. Halverson.


    In order to love my children, I must remember that (1) They are children. (2) They tend to act like children. (3) Much of childish behavior is unpleasant. (4) If I do my part as a parent and love them despite their childish behavior, they will be able to mature and give up childish ways. (5) If I only love them when they please me (conditional love), and convey my love to them only during those times, they will not feel genuinely loved. This in turn will make them insecure, damage their self-image, and actually prevent them from moving on to better self-control and more mature behavior. Therefore, their behavior is my responsibility as much as theirs. (6) If I love them unconditionally, they will feel good about themselves and be comfortable with themselves. They will then be able to control their anxiety and, in turn, their behavior, as they grow into adulthood. 

    Dr. Ross Campbell, How to Really Love Your Child.


    Many years ago a shabbily dressed boy trudged several miles through the snowy streets of Chicago, determined to attend a Bible class that was conducted by D.L. Moody. When he arrived, he was asked, "Why did you come to a Sunday school so far away? Why didn't you go to one of the churches near your home?" He answered simply, "Because you love a fellow over here."

    Source Unknown.


    Unconditional love does not equal uncritical love--Phil 1:9-11 "I love you. Period." Or it could be extended to say, "I love you in spite of ..." or, "I love you anyhow..." or "I love you for no good reason." Now how do you think your ego could handle that? Do you really want to be loved for no good reason? Isn't that what unconditional love is? More often than not, the statement, "I love you," is responded to with the question, "Why?" And when you ask for a "why" are you not asking for some condition? It sounds like, "Please love me unconditionally, but tell me why." That's the double bind. 

    Dave Grant, Homemade, June 1982 .


    A young man said to his father at breakfast one morning, "Dad, I'm going to get married." 

    "How do you know you're ready to get married?" asked the father. "Are you in love?" 

    "I sure am," said the son. 

    "How do you know you're in love?" asked the father. 

    "Last night as I was kissing my girlfriend good-night, her dog bit me and I didn't feel the pain until I got home."

    Source Unknown.


    Despotism, and attempts at despotism, are a kind of disease of public spirit--they represent, as it were, the drunkenness of responsibility. It is when men begin to grow desperate in their love for the people, when they are overwhelmed with the difficulties and blunders of humanity, that they fall back upon the wild desire to manage everything themselves. This belief that all would go right if we could only get the strings into our own hands is a fallacy, almost without exception. But nobody can say it is not public-spirited. The sin and sorrow of despotism is not that it does not love men, but that it loves them too much, and trusts them too little. 

    G.K. Chesterton.


    Years ago Father John Powell told the story of Norma Jean

    Mortenson: "Norma Jean Mortenson. Remember that name? Norma Jean's mother, Mrs. Gladys Baker, was periodically committed to a mental institution and Norma Jean spent much of her childhood in foster homes. In one of those foster homes, when she was eight years old, one of the boarders raped her and gave her a nickel. He said, 'Here, Honey. Take this and don't ever tell anyone what I did to you.' When little Norma Jean went to her foster mother to tell her what had happened she was beaten badly. She was told, 'Our boarder pays good rent. Don't you ever say anything bad about him!' Norma Jean at the age of eight had learned what it was to be used and given a nickel and beaten for trying to express the hurt that was in her.

    "Norma Jean turned into a very pretty young girl and people began to notice. Boys whistled at her and she began to enjoy that, but she always wished they would notice she was a person too--not just a body--or a pretty face--but a person.

    "Then Norma Jean went to Hollywood and took a new name-- Marilyn Monroe and the publicity people told her, 'We are going to create a modern sex symbol out of you.' And this was her reaction, 'A symbol? Aren't symbols things people hit together?' They said, 'Honey, it doesn't matter, because we are going to make you the most smoldering sex symbol that ever hit the celluloid.'

    "She was an overnight smash success, but she kept asking, 'Did you also notice I am a person? Would you please notice?' Then she was cast in the dumb blonde roles.

    "Everyone hated Marilyn Monroe. Everyone did.

    "She would keep her crews waiting two hours on the set. She was regarded as a selfish prima donna. What they didn't know was that she was in her dressing room vomiting because she was so terrified.

    "She kept saying, 'Will someone please notice I am a person. Please.' They didn't notice. They wouldn't take her seriously.

    "She went through three marriages--always pleading, 'Take me seriously as a person.' Everyone kept saying, 'But you are a sex symbol. You can't be other than that.'

    "Marilyn kept saying 'I want to be a person. I want to be a serious actress.'

    "And so on that Saturday night, at the age of 35 when all beautiful women are supposed to be on the arm of a handsome escort, Marilyn Monroe took her own life. She killed herself.

    "When her maid found her body the next morning, she noticed the telephone was off the hook. It was dangling there beside her.

    Later investigation revealed that in the last moments of her life she had called a Hollywood actor and told him she had taken enough sleeping pills to kill herself.

    "He answered with the famous line of Rhett Butler, which I now edit for church, 'Frankly, my dear, I don't care!' That was the last word she heard. She dropped the phone--left it dangling.

    "Claire Booth Luce in a very sensitive article asked, 'What really killed Marilyn Monroe, love goddess who never found any love?' She said she thought the dangling telephone was the symbol of Marilyn Monroe's whole life. She died because she never got through to anyone who understood." 

    Dynamic Preaching, June, 1990.