Self-less love or Self-ish love

My word of the year is love.  I introduced the thought here.

I was recently in the USA.  I had gone up to help care for my mother in what became the last days of her life.  It was the first time in 16 years that I had been in the USA at Valentine’s.  Everywhere I looked was some evidence of the holiday – pink balloons, hearts, flowers, candies.  The airy balloons, especially, got me thinking about love.  If a person’s love is just based on getting these pretty pink and red things, it would be a love as empty as the balloons. I am not against giving and receiving these kinds of things, but real love has to have more substance than that.

These thoughts were contrasted with my experience of seeing a love that was more substantial – a self-less love.  I watched my sister give our mother 24-hour care for the 5 weeks she was hospitalized.  Nurses stayed past their shifts to be an encouragement.  People I didn’t know, but knew my father, came to encourage and to pray.  People provided food.  Others gave money to help with expenses.  My mother was an example of self-less love.  I was reminded that real love, lasting love, is giving not for personal gain but for the the sake of the other person.

My thoughts were also drawn to the ultimate example of self-less love – Jesus.

For God so loved the world, that He gave
His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

John 3:16

For the sake of all mankind, Jesus gave His life as a sacrifice that would provide a way for people to be forgiven of their sins.  He personally had nothing to gain.  He did it all for our sakes.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us,
in that while we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

Self-less love is wonderful to receive and blessed to give.  Right on the edge, in a way, is another kind of love – self-ish love.  It is incredible how quickly self-less love can turn into self-ish love.  Instead of giving for the sake of another, we can start looking for what we can receive.  This kind of love is easy to cover up, so we need to be on the look out for it in our own lives.  God’s Word is our help to locate and to change self-ish love.

For the love of Christ controls us . . .
2 Corinthians 5:14

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another,
even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
By this all men will know that you are My disciples,
if you have love for one another.
John 13:34-35

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This entry was posted in Christian living, Serving God, Word of the year and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Self-less love or Self-ish love

  1. Vicky says:

    Sharlene, what a wonderful tribute to your mother to define so clearly what true love is in a world full of “empty” or self-gratifying “love.” Thank you for taking the time to write this edifying post during your time of grief.

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