“Love…it always perseveres” The word persevere means “to not stay behind or flee, to endure, bear bravely and calmly”. When we love someone, we stand by them, the very nature of loyalty. I only know of one situation where this occurs naturally…between a mother and a child and consider the love that drives this type of perseverance.
Love produces perseverance and loyalty. When someone is patient, does not look down on me, honors me, does not get angry with me, puts my interest ahead of his own, is forgiving me when I am wrong, does not tell me “I told you so,” celebrates the good things in my life and always tells me the truth, I want to protect him, I will trust him, I have hope in him and I will stand by him. On the other hand, if I am oppressed by you, will I persevere with you? Will I stand by you? I may fear you, and that fear may control me, but as soon as that fear slips, I will flee and not stand by you. Love produces loyalty while fear produces control.
We all desire to have someone stand with us in good times and bad. We all want loyalty of a best friend that’s always there. We watch movies that stress the love and the bond of loyalty that binds friends together in times of trials and dangers. We want someone who will always be with us, no matter how bad the circumstances. How many people do we really have that will persevere with us, that will stand with us, that are loyal. Perseverance, a willingness to stand with us and loyalty are all indicators of love. They cannot be commanded only produced by love.
We look for this perseverance, this willingness to stand by you in our homes and neighborhoods. We look for it at work where we are put together with many different types of people. We all know what it is like at work where there is no loyalty: The gossip, the jealousy, the pride, getting ahead by climbing over people; notice how these are the very descriptors of what love is not? Of course, we don’t expect to find love at work…we to work to support our families, not find love. If we are really fortunate at least once in our career, we will find that special person that loves us and if they are our mentor, it will change our lives forever. Terry was that man for me…and he changed my life in incredible ways.
We come into the church hoping for this love and loyalty, and in many cases, we are disappointed. As I mentioned in a previous post, Deirdre and I came out of a church environment where people were “assigned” to help us. We were told that they would be our best friends, however, when the assignment was over, the relationship evaporated…and the person was no longer there to stand with us. If I or others were labeled “weak and struggling” then others would start to pull away. If I or others decided to leave the church, people would stop calling or not want to spend time together. We rationalized that since they were not part of the family, we no longer had to “love” them. I have even heard of people tell other people “you want the benefits of the family without the responsibility” as an excuse why they no longer wanted to spend time with them. We desperately want someone to persevere and stand by us, but instead, we are all alone. We are alone, and we start to lose hope…we are alone and we start to distrust…we are along and we feel vulnerable because of no protection…. we are alone, and we don’t feel loved. “A Friend loves at all times and a brother is born for a time of adversity” Proverbs 17:17
Instead of asking who will stand with me, I need to ask myself who will I stand by, who will I persevere for? If I have difficulty answering this, then I must question am I loving? Am I producing love in the relationships that I have? These are the questions I need to ponder.