“Now love, love don’t come easy.” Phil Collins got it right. The kind of love that sustains healthy relationships doesn’t come easy. There are skills we have to develop. What is love? We’re glad you asked.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails… I Corinthians 13:4-8
These are the characteristics of love. We broke the first half of this passage down into four skills a few weeks ago. Click here to read. This week we’ll explore a second set of skills.
5. The skill of being secure – Love is not easily angered, easily wounded or easily offended. It is not thin skinned. When we are secure in the revelation of how much we are loved by God we can have thicker skin in all our relationships.
6. The skill of empathy – Empathy is entering into someone else’s world, tapping into what they feel and truly valuing their experience. It is one of the most important relational skills you can possess. It’s not about right or wrong. It’s about validation.
Validation is the art of affirming another person by actively accepting that person as he or she is in the moment and communicating that acceptance to them.
7. The skill of defense – Love does not delight in sharing juicy gossip. Love lifts up a shield and protects others from the arrows life hurls their direction.
8. The skill of relational optimism – It’s hard to build relationships when everything you see is clouded in doubt and pessimism Relationship builders tap into the promises of God. They trust and hope for brighter tomorrows.
9. The skill of endurance – We need to develop a long-term approach to love. The God-kind of love sees the potential in messed up people and holds on for the long haul. Perseverance and tenacity will mature into the kind of love that never fails.
Healthy relationships don’t come easy. They are the fruit of diligent work and skill development. Fruit like that takes time to mature but when it ripens, it is so very sweet.