Abiding in Christ: Looking through the Eyes of Love
by Charlaine Martin
Read: 1 John 4:7-18
Focus Verse: Psalm 85:10 NIV
Love and faithfulness meet together;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
#COMMITYOURHEART to your spouse.
Note: This post also appears at www.betotallyfitforlife.com as “Looking Through the Eyes of Love”.
My husband and I love emojis with hearts. Our texts to each other include them every day. One of my favorites to send him is the smiley with heart-shaped eyes. It might seem kind of corny, but this is our modern equivalent to sending each other love notes scented with perfume or XOXOXO at the bottom of the note. Yes, even mid-lifers do things like this with each other because we love each other deeply. In our world of easy divorce and cohabitation without commitment, the greatest need for marriages today is the tremendous abiding love of Christ.
Now here is something I should share with you– I’ve been married before. My first marriage was great, but then my heart shattered. My first husband valiantly fought terminal cancer and passed on to eternity with God. We enjoyed almost 30 years together before he went home to Jesus. So I had preconceived notions about what my second marriage should be. My second hubby, my Boaz, was hurt badly in a marriage that ended in divorce. Unfortunately, his idea of marriage was smudged with pain and distrust. Neither one of us liked living alone, so seeking out a godly spouse was important for each of us. We viewed each other through faulty lenses that distorted what our marriage should be until we discovered that we needed to put on our Love glasses—rose-colored heart-shaped lenses because of our faith in Jesus Christ, who drew us together in the first place.
In our passage, the word abide doesn’t appear, but “lives in,” meaning to abide, appears five times, in verses 12, 13, 15, and 16b. By being born of God, we are God’s children who live in Him and He in us. Because of this, God expects us to love each other because He is love. We should display the same characteristic of love that God displays for us. God gives us the ability to love each other, even when we cannot love by our own power.
The Eyes of Love are a wonderful, graceful filter God gives us. They help us see what we ought and ignore what we ought. Neither of us is perfect; both of us sinners saved by the love Jesus demonstrated on the cross for us. As brother and sister in Christ, we can love because He first loved us. Abiding in Christ allows us to be more open to view each other—faults and all- – through His eyes and heart. Here are a few ways, primarily from 1 Corinthians 13, I’ve discovered our Love glasses help us:
- See the best in each other.
- Ignore the flaws in each other.
- Show compassion to each other.
- Let go of past hurts.
- Put the other one first (Philippians 2:3).
- Spur each other on to do good works (Hebrews 10:24).
- Hope together for our future.
These incredible Love glasses put our arguments in a different light. The vast majority of the time, those arguments look pretty puny when we examine them through our faith in Christ, that is, our Love glasses. Instead of fighting to win, we can argue for a solution. We can trust that the Holy Spirit works in each of us to bring about a greater unity that Christian marriage should enjoy. Certainly, sparks fly as “iron sharpens iron,” but no one gets burned. Rather, we stop and say, “Oh! Something that needs our careful attention.” It will indeed hurt a bit, but we can begin to open up to becoming a better spouse for each other. We can meet each other in the middle through love and peace, embracing and kissing each other anyway because righteousness and peace reign in our hearts.
Sometimes, when he compliments me by telling me how beautiful I am to him, I think he is wearing rose-colored glasses with heart-shaped lenses like the smiley emoji with heart-shaped eyes. When I tell him how much I love him and how handsome he is, even after he says or does something that annoys me, he often scratches his head and chalks it up to my Love glasses. How are we able to do this? Because the love of Jesus gives us the Eyes of Love through which we may see each other.
Perfect love drives out the fear of failure, pain, and disappointment so that we might see each other as Jesus sees us, bringing us two distinctly different people together as one. One special note, though. If you are enduring abuse in any way, the Eyes of Love can still help you see your spouse for whom he or she is: someone who is hurting badly and should stop hurting you. By all means, leave for your safety. Perfect love casts out fear. You can insist he or she go through extensive counseling to find healing and wholeness, but you also need healing for yourself. Prayerfully allow the Holy Spirit to guide and direct both of you through this process.
But for the rest of us, becoming one as that three-strand cord (Ecclesiastes 4:12) takes time, regularly forgiving and asking for forgiveness, while changing our attitudes and behaviors for the betterment of the marriage. The two becoming one must have Jesus central in the relationship, which creates the strong cord of three strands.
Put It into Practice
Step back to view your spouse with the lenses of Love, heart-shaped glasses from the Bible. What unique qualities do you love about your husband or wife? Do you see conflict as debilitating, or a way to bring about greater unity in your marriage? In what ways can you use your Love glasses to build a greater unity with the bond of peace? Intentionally, find ways to demonstrate love to your Sweetheart. Rather than bristle at annoyances, try focusing on specific qualities you admire about him or her. Find ways to build a bridge during arguments by looking for solutions that benefit your marriage.
Prayer: Precious Lord, thank you that we can see each other through the eyes of love—the love you have shown for each of us. May we grow closer to each other and closer to You. Amen