Romans 12:10 “Be tender loving one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another”
Life isn’t fair. I gave you the quick version of why this is true yesterday. (Yesterday’s Manna) If you look for everything to be fair, you will become discouraged. You will continually have expectations of people for certain results that you will not get. From there, everything can spiral downhill because people don’t always perform in the way you think they should. Circumstances don’t always turn out in the way you hoped for or felt was fair. If fair is what you strive for, you’ll be disappointed again and again. So what is the solution? Look to Jesus. He will not disappoint you.
Let me put this in the practical setting of marriage. The amount of marriages I see in trouble today is staggering. There are many reasons for that. One of them being the world knows nothing about the functioning of a marriage and has done its best to devalue it and make marriage a throwaway experience – not unlike replacing a car. When people don’t know God, they don’t know how to love God and receive His counsel. Consequently, they don’t know how to love their mates.
In bringing the concept of “not looking for fair” into marriage, this has helped me more than I can tell you. What most people look for in marriage is “fair” treatment or reciprocation of love. “I love you and do all these things for you and feel like I get little back! It’s not right or fair!” You could hear these lyrics so often you’d think they were from a hit country song.
When Jesus came to die for me and save me from my sins, He was doing it with nothing coming back His way from me. I was living for the devil in high gear. I didn’t even know if I believed in Him so appreciating Him and giving Him love back wasn’t even on mind. His kind of love is called “agape” love. It’s the God kind of love. One definition from the Greek defines this love as a “love feast.” It’s the kind of love that comes not motivated by the return of that love. It’s a love simply motivated by the desire to give. That is the God kind of love.
Early on in my marriage with Renee, God taught me, “Don’t look for fair.” “Fair” is confusing, not communicated well – expressed as “giving to get,” and rarely performed to anyone’s satisfaction. The Lord told me, “I want you to love Renee like I first loved you – with an agape love – a love this gives regardless of whether anything comes back and do so because it’s right! It’s what I have modeled for you.” That helped me so much. It’s easier to love because it’s right than because I should. It gets rid of the expectation of equal reciprocation from the desire and expectation of fairness. It was like the lights when on. I could see it as my job description: Love Renee. It didn’t have anything to with her loving me back. That was her job description and it was between her and God.
This changed our marriage and gave Renee a taste of agape love – ongoing love without expectation of reciprocation. No guilt trips. No manipulation. Just love. Her love toward me began to change for the better. Our marriage blossomed. As I look back now, I know that we’ve learned to love each other because it’s right, not out of looking for the “fair and equal response.” It offers grace to each of us when we are lacking in our efforts.
In time, the Lord took me to another level. He said I want you to honor Renee as your wife. The word honor means to put a great value on something. He wanted me to value Renee as something absolutely precious. In learning to honor her, I began to look for ways to help or respond to her that far exceeded what she hoped for. There might have been times where I wanted to sulk and feel like she wasn’t treating me right but I didn’t give her an equal response. I honored her instead. I did so not with the hope that I’d solicit a particular response. I simply did it out of obedience to the Lord knowing He is the rewarder. I have been rewarded with a great marriage!
I have met people that have told me their emotional love with their mate is absolutely gone – that they couldn’t love their mate again short of a miracle. Let me tell you that this approach has resulted in many miracles. You see when you honor God and you obey with your spirit motivated by Him, results do come. When you stop looking for fairness and love like Jesus – with an agape love – sincere love is happening. Things do change. Emotions do follow. Love is re-birthed.
At the time it might feel like the exact opposite of what you want to do. It might also be the very thing that brings God’s miraculous touch to your marriage and your love. In life we do what today’s manna says toward everyone – “Be tender loving one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another.” With our spouses, we ramp that up a notch and use our marriage as the place to practice and perfect it!
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2009 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.