Love covers a multitude of sins.* Love must be ever present in our attitudes and behaviors towards one another if our relationships are to be healthy and strong. There are many aspects to love, but this article is not about the feeling of loving someone or being in love. This is about how to show love to one another. If a person truly loves, it will show in attitudes and behaviors, because what is in our heart comes out in our words and actions.
Love is about wanting what is best for another person, having compassion and caring for another person; sometimes at great personal expense, as in the case of laying down one’s life for another. It is about not putting oneself first and the other second, but in putting the other person’s needs ahead of one’s own. Not in a way the damages our spirit, but in a way of doing what is right. When we do something right, it is right for everyone, because it builds and strengthens who someone is as a person rather than tearing down. Putting someone else first is about recognizing another person’s need and recognizing that each of us is equally important. It does not diminish the value of the giver, but enhances it.
Of course meeting our own needs is not wrong or selfish. We should take care of ourselves. This is not about denying appropriate self-care. This is about recognizing that love cares for others, even when it might be inconvenient or difficult. Recognizing the value of another person and acting on it is a positive thing that builds both the giver and the receiver. This love does not enable bad attitudes or behaviors, rather it encourages others in doing what is right.
There is an important truth in relationships called the emotional bank account. This concept demonstrates how love really does cover a multitude of sins. When a person is consistently showing love through attitudes, words and actions, that love builds a person up and builds the relationship as well. Studies have shown, for example, that children who were loved and nurtured during childhood are much better able to emotionally handle difficulties later in life. This is because they have a foundation of emotional strength to work from. The same is true in any close relationship. Actively loving someone builds their emotional foundation and creates a balance of positive feelings, sometimes called an emotional bank account. When something bad happens or someone does something to tear down rather than to build, it does not destroy the relationship if there have been enough love deposits to cover the transgression. The love covers the sins.
It is important to keep a large balance in the emotional bank account. Withdrawals often come in large chunks and it is important to have a big enough balance to cover them. Having a general attitude that is loving is healthy for the person doing the loving and the people being loved. It generates positive feelings and attitudes in others as well.
This passage is an accepted standard of what love is:
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” *
This is a tall order, but it helps keep things in perspective. Comparing attitudes and behaviors to the above also helps to determine if some response or action is loving or not. If it doesn’t meet the description above, it is not love – it is something else.
If you notice, love is all about building others. It is patient, recognizing that we none of us are perfect and therefore make mistakes. It is kind. Looking to bless others, despite imperfections and focused on what is good in others.
Some of the things on the list are obviously relationship destroyers. Being boastful or rude are both rooted in selfishness, neither are out of love or concern for another person. Boasting is trying to puff oneself up to look more important or better than someone else. These sure don’t add to the emotional bank account. These things are withdrawals.
Does that mean it’s bad to feel jealous when the one we love betrays us? No it doesn’t. It just means that it isn’t based on love. Jealousy is based on self; love is not. Jealously is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is not a product of love. However, there are some types of jealousy that are destroyers. Being jealous of what someone else has or being jealous of other healthy relationships the other person has is self-centered. We should all encourage healthy relationships and be happy for others when things are going well for them.
Love does not demand its own way. Instead love works towards unity and seeks what is best for the relationship. It is not a doormat, but it isn’t a bulldozer either. Love seeks to come together in solutions that build both the giver and the receiver of love.
Love is not irritable. Being irritable means getting upset easily over petty things or for no reason in particular. Irritability is not only unloving, but it tends to tear others down. A better response is to patiently deal with the other person and work towards unity. If you tend towards irritability, think about why that is and what are some ways to deal with what is bothering you without emitting a bad attitude towards those around you.
Keeping a record of wrongs is not quite the same as remembering them. We don’t really forget, but once things have been worked through, keeping a record of wrongs does not build the relationship. It tears it down. Love is about building. When someone hurts you, talk about it, work through it until it is resolved and then let it go and move on.
Love does not celebrate when someone reaps a bad harvest. Whether someone seems to deserve their bad fortune or not, it is not helpful or loving to gloat or be glad when someone is hurting. It is better to be patient and kind and encourage the person in doing what is right. Being happy when truth wins out is never at the expense of others.
Love is as strong as death.* It really is. Love can resurrect dead relationships, dreams that have long died and broken hearts. It perseveres and keeps faith and hope alive through all sorts of difficulties. Love doesn’t fade away. Love is lasting and powerful. It gives life and it truly covers a multitude of sins. The next time you think about responding to a bad attitude with a bad attitude of your own or you consider yourself more important than the ones you love, think about a way that you could respond in a loving way that builds you and the one you love to smooth the relationship and build it into a strong house that will withstand the inevitable storms. You can do this by building and maintaining a hefty balance in the emotional bank accounts of those you love.
Randall E. Bennett has a written a book about how to Melt Your Man’s Heart, that has many excellent ideas on how to make your husband feel loved and respect. This is a great way to fill his emotional love bank.
* 1 Peter 4:8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. New American Standard translation
* This famous passage on love is found in the book of 1 Corinthians, chapter 13 of the Bible. This version is from the New Living Translation.
* Song of Solomon 8:6 For love is as strong as death. New Living Translation
Like our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TheFeminineReview. Ask a question or comment on articles. All article up-dates are posted on our Facebook page. If you press the “like” button for our Facebook page, these updates will be in your newsfeed.
We would love to have you pin The Feminine Review on Pinterest The Feminine Review has boards on Pinterest you may be interested in. Here: Pinterest
To like this post on Facebook, click the like button below. To follow us on Facebook, like our page on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/TheFeminineReview