Love Never Fails (Love Is... Series)
This is the final episode in our love is series on how to love unconditionally . . . a love that never fails.
I am fresh off of a world-class trip all the way across the world to Tanzania, East Africa, and if this is maybe your first time listening to the podcast, maybe you didn't know that I was away for so long. Well, of course I have to update you on all the wonderful things that happen on that trip and maybe I'll do a bonus episode just to kind of give you guys, those of you who want to know all about the trip, I'll be able to share with you some really great details.
It was really a great time. There were so many things that God did in and through our team. Just some things I just don't even have words for yet. I'm still processing, I'm still thinking on what I experienced and what I was able to be a part of as I led this team. It was incredible, you all, it was incredible. One of the things though that I think I was so struck with was these people's hunger and thirst for God.
So what we are here for today, you guys, is to talk about our conclusion to the Love Is series. I'm so sad. I'm like, oh my gosh, this series has been so amazing. I have promoted the Love Is workbook. And if you don't have your copy, please go to http://realrelationship.com/loveis and get your copy today. This is the last time that we'll talk about the workbook
Love Never Fails But People Do
Okay, on to our topic: Love never fails. Think about that statement, love never fails. So if you have been in a relationship with someone who has failed you, or maybe you have failed someone, then the question is, was it love that failed or was it you or that person that may have fallen in your expression of love? You see, I believe that when we look at what the Bible teaches about love, the Bible says God is love. And even for those who are not Christians, even for those who do not consider themselves to be believers, that scripture is pretty common. God is love. That means that at the core of who God is, that yes, God is good, and yes, God is powerful, and yes, God is holy, and yes, God is amazing. But at the core of who he is, he is love. He is the very essence of love. And so to know God is to know love. And to not know God is to not know love. As a matter of fact, it says in I John, chapter four, “the one who does not love does not know God because God is love.” So if you're a person and your love is very fickle, your love is conditional. You choose who you're going to love, when you're going to love, how you're going to love, how much you're going to love. Well, this scripture says, my friend, that you don't know God.
God's love isn't fickle. His love isn't inconsistent. His love doesn't have conditions. As a matter of fact, it can be intimidating sometimes when we think about God's love, because we can't live like Him. We're not God. We're not perfect. But you know what we can do? We can choose to love in ways that are like Him. We can choose to love people who don't always love us in return. We could choose to love people who will never be able to give us anything in return. Why did I go to Tanzania? Was it because I wanted these people to give me something that I needed, whether it be finances or affirmations or accolades? No, I didn't want or expect anything from them. I simply went because I believe that God called me to go and because I wanted to just give them everything I had, anything that I had. That is what it means to love.
Unfailing Love Changes Us and the World
Think about a good parent who loves their baby. That baby can't do anything for you. As a matter of fact, that baby is going to keep you up at night. It's going to cry and scream when you need to go to work in the morning. It's going to refuse milk when you know that that is what the baby wants. I mean, the baby can't give you anything. The baby is not loving you. But because you love that child unconditionally, you will keep showing up night after night after night. You will keep trying to soothe that child. You will keep trying to provide for that child's needs because you love him or her.
I wonder what the world would look like if we all showed up like that in our relationships, where we weren't loving people to get something from them, but we were just simply showing up to love them because we understood that love never fails. You see, our love shouldn't wax and wane. Our love should be consistent. We shouldn't love people based on their performance. I will love you until die. None of us ever gets married and says that in our marriage vows, right? None of us gets married and says, I will love you until . . . Love doesn't depend on the performance of the one to whom it's given. Meaning, if you're going to love somebody, love them, regardless of what they can do for you. It isn't about how well they perform, how they float your boat, how they meet your needs, how they love you in return. If those qualifiers are present, my friend, your love is conditional and it will not last.
We have to become a people who truly learn how to love people, regardless of who they are, what they're doing, what they're not doing, how they're meeting our needs or not. It's easy for us to love people who are good to us. It's easy for us to love people who are kind to us, who show up for us, who are encouraging us, who support us, right? Who have our best interests at heart. It's easy to love folks like that.
How to Love the Unloveables
But what about the people who don't show up for you? What about the people who don't encourage you? What about the people who don't even receive the love that you're trying to give to them? Or who are ungrateful? That stuff hurts, you guys. And I'm not brushing it aside and saying, well, just get over it and just love him anyway. No. Like, it hurts and we have to take a minute sometimes to be like, whoa, that's not what I expected here. But then what are you going to do? Are you going to let your love be conditional because their love is conditional?
Are you going to let your love be inconsistent because their love is inconsistent? Or are you going to show up and say, you know what? I'm going to choose to love you regardless of your performance. You see, I believe that we can't truly love without having the experience of God's love, not just the understanding of it, because a lot of us know in our minds that God is love and he's loving and he's kind and he's all of that. But so many of us have not experienced the love of God. We have not experienced it for ourselves. And so because we haven't experienced it, we can't give it. We still see God as this scary guy who as long as we're doing good, we're in his good graces. But the moment that we mess up, he wants to kind of kick us to the curb.
Think about like a two year-old that knows that his parents love him regardless of what he does. So he can hit, he can bite, he can have a tantrum, he can do whatever he's going to do. But at the end of the day, when he's afraid, he runs into his mommy and daddy's room because he knows that's the place of his protection. That's how God wants us to see Him. Not as some scary God who's judging us for all the things that we're doing. Because if you have that viewpoint of God, then you're never going to draw near to Him. You're always going to stay away. I preached about this when I was in Tanzania, and I'm not going to get into it now because hello, bonus episode. But I will tell you this. If you've not experienced God's love, you're not going to be able to give God's love to people, and you're not going to be able to receive love from other people. You will always be a little bit suspicious. When people love you deeply, you'll always think, what do they want? They have something in mind. What's the catch? But people who are loved well love well. And people who are loved well know how to be loved well.
Unconditional Love Heals Broken Hearts
If you are someone who you've been in relationships that have been unhealthy, that have been toxic, that have been inconsistent, maybe you've been betrayed, you've had your heart broken. My prayer for you, my friend, is that you would experience the healing power of God's love so that you can not only be a person of love, but so that you can also receive real love when it comes your Way. You see, I believe that when God is the source of your love and again, I'm not talking about just having an understanding of his love, but I'm talking about when he's truly the source of your love. And when you have that experiential knowledge and depth of his love, it will fuel you to love other people. That's the kind of love that doesn't fail. This is how you can still love people when they abuse you, misuse you, or even try to hurt you. Now.
There is a difference between loving somebody and being in proximity with that person. I've talked about this on other episodes. A lot of times I'll say there's a difference between forgiveness and reconciliation. You can forgive someone and not be reconciled to them in a physical relationship. The same is true with love. You can love someone and not be in close proximity to that person. Maybe that person is not a safe person. Maybe that person is not someone that can be trusted. And so, therefore, you cannot be in proximity to them, but you can still keep your love on toward them.
Keep Your Love On
Danny Silk wrote a book several years ago called Keep Your Love On. And he, likens love to a faucet. And he says that it is up to us whether we're going to turn the faucet on keeping our love on or whether we're going to turn the faucet off turning our love off. And that simple little analogy. You all was such an eye opener for me because I realized that in my relationships, I would turn the faucet on and off, depending on how the other person was acting. So if you were treating me good oh, man. We're going to have a full faucet here. Full of water pressure. I was going to turn my love on. I was going to go through all the hoops and the bells and the whistles, but the moment that that person started to treat me anything less than what I felt like I should be treated, off went the spigot. And I turned my love off. And I got to a point.
Going through that study with a group of married couples, Shaun and I leading these groups of married couples, I realized I don't want my love to be like that. That's easy love that's cheap love I wanted my love to remain on even when people were inconsistent with me. And y'all, I am challenged in this every single day, just like you are. And sometimes I fail the test and sometimes I pass. My goal isn't perfection. My goal is to choose to show up for people, regardless if they're showing up for me or not. My goal is to have a love that does not fail. A love that sands the test of time. A love that when people when I'm done loving these people, that they can look back and say, you know what? I didn't always treat Dana the way that she deserved to be treated. But she loved me, didn't she?
The Bible says that God is kind to the ungrateful. I've said that many times on the show, and it's true. And when we have that understanding of who God is and how he shows up for us, even though we don't always show up for Him, it humbles you. I know it humbles me because I can't give God a list of all of my accolades and all the wonderful things that I've always done. No, it's quite the opposite, actually, where I have a list of my flaws and my faults, and I'm like, God, why do you still love me? Why do you still bless me? Why do you still give me these incredible opportunities? Why do you give me influence? Why do you trust me? And he's like, because I love you. It's not because you're the greatest. It's not because you're the smartest. It's not because I couldn't choose anybody else. There's nobody else available. I just love you. It's just as simple as that.
You Have to Experience Love to Give Love
Some of you have never experienced God's love. You show up on this podcast. You listen to all these other podcasts. You're trying to figure out how to make your relationships work, and it's not working because you haven't experienced God's love. Can I encourage you to start there? If you don't have a relationship with God, would today be the day that you open your heart to Him and you say, god, there's a lot of junk in my heart. There's a lot of bad teaching, maybe philosophies that I believe that have gone against what I believe now about who you are. Don't worry about all that. God will clean all that stuff up. The only thing that he needs from you is a willing heart to invite Him in and to surrender your life to Him. And when you do that, he will show you things that you never could have imagined. Your relationships that have been struggling, some of y'all going around the same old Melbury tree for ten years, you will not have that struggle any longer. Once you get a taste of God's love for you, once you allow Him to love your spouse, your partner through you. You see, that's what I realized. That for me, when it was very difficult for me to love Shaun, it was because I was trying to love him the "Dana way." Well, the Dana way doesn't work, okay? I had to learn how to love him the God away. I had to learn how to go first, how to initiate some things, how to say I'm sorry, even though I needed an apology. I had to learn how to lay my life down and lay my desires down and stop keeping score and stop thinking about all of my needs that were not being met. I had to learn how to love the God way.
And I will tell you something that when I learned how to love the God way and I'm still working on it, you all, I am not an expert here. I am not on a high horse. But when I learned the difference, it made all the difference. People always ask us, what changed in your relationship? What was the thing that took you guys from this horrible adulterous relationship to where you are today? And Shaun and I have both tried to think of, like, a real quick response and answer something that sounds like profound, but the truth is, you all, we just decided to do things God's way. That's it. We just decided to stop trying to do things our own way because our way wasn't working. And maybe you're looking at the shards of your relationship and you're starting to have an understanding of revelation that your way isn't working. Listen, friend, there's no shame in that. Don't feel bad or guilty about that. Praise God, you've seen the lights. Now the question is, what are you going to do about it?
Are you going to keep on trying to love in your own conditional, inconsistent way, tit for tat? Or are you going to choose this love that never fails, this love that doesn't end, this love that isn't based on conditions or performance, that's the love that never fails. That's the love that we're after. And every episode that you're going to hear on the Real Relationship Talk podcast is going to be talking about that kind of love. Am I not going to talk about things that you need to do and tips and tricks that you need in your relationship? Absolutely. Because we all need that. But the tips and the tricks and the tools only work if you have first surrendered to unconditional love. That never fails. That's the only way it works. You all, you can keep on trying to do this in your own strength. You can keep on putting the bandaid on, you can keep on going from one relationship to the next to the next to the next. Think that's the next person. That's going to be the magic pill. But at some point, you're going to have to come face to face with, am I going to receive this love that God has for me? Am I going to first receive it for myself? And then, am I going to give it to those people that God has placed in my life? When you do that, everything's going to change for you. Maybe you have an incredible relationship, an incredible marriage. Keep it up.
Don't Allow Your Love to Fail
Don't let your love wax and wane. Don't let it fail, y'all. We're going to go through seasons in our lives and seasons and relationships. Relationships have seasons. You're not always going to be up. There are hills and there are valleys, but when you go through the valley, you have to keep your love on. As hard as it is, I'm still tempted to turn my love off because it's a protection, it's a self-preservation mechanism. That's what it is. So when we turn our love off, we feel like we're protecting ourselves from getting hurt. But the truth of the matter is we're actually just closing ourselves off. It doesn't protect us at all because we still get hurt and then we become bitter. And then that bitterness leads to resentment, and resentment left undetected and unhealed, turns into hatred, which is absolutely the opposite of what we're going for here. One of my favorite scriptures is out of Romans 8:38, 39, “For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.”
Being a Christian isn't about belonging to a specific church or a denomination or wearing dresses or home schooling your children. That's not what being a Christian is all about. Being a Christian is about experiencing and surrendering to the love of God that is in Christ Jesus, that he gave his very life for you, that he died a cruel, cruel death so that you wouldn't have to. And it's just simply saying, I receive that love now. I want to give that love. I want to be conformed into your image. I want to spend the rest of my life learning how to be like you God. That's what being a Christian is. And I'm sorry for the many Christians who have messed it up and who have treated people way less than what God would ever treat someone as who have given the word Christian a bad reputation and a bad name. But I want to tell you something. Don't judge God by his children, okay? Because some of them are illegitimate anyway, but even the legitimate ones who get it wrong, don't judge God by them. That's not who he is. When you experience his love, you'll know, and you'll be forever changed and so will your relationships.
LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
How to Forgive Someone Who's Hurt You
Keep Your Love On Book by Danny Silk
The Power of Forgiveness in Relationships
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