Love, love, love, love, love. We cry for it as babies, we bite over it as toddlers, we crush over it as adolescents and we make many mistakes over it as adults. We learn how to love from the people in our spheres of influence, usually our family and friends and colleagues who all teach us what acceptable behavior when expressing love is. We also get many examples of behaviors from the media through television, movies and books. What I (and perhaps you) tend to forget is to look at all of the various forms of education with discernment. It may not be a good idea to learn how to have a healthy romantic relationship from ‘2 and a half men’ or parental love from ‘family guy.’ It may not be the best idea to look for popularity tips from ‘tmz’ or ‘american idol’ auditions. If I make sure to have positive influences in my life and put time and energy into cultivating healthy relationships with everyone, I have a better chance to know what media to disregard and what lessons I can apply to real life. Learn how to eat the fish and spit out the bones. To be intentional in love takes courage. Here are some tips that can help to develop healthy, loving relationships in any situation…
Look for excuses to be the first to forgive and forget.
Optimize each other’s worth whenever you speak.
Vocalize affirmation through daily compliments.
Express unlimited grace by making mistakes on the side of love, not judgment.
In Ephesians 5:2 (msg) the Bible reads, “Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.”
If we can collectively make efforts to practice the principle of love the way God intends for us, we can create change and growth in the health of our families, our churches our jobs and our communities. And quite possibly a brave new world without ‘tmz.’