Can anyone hear sentences like the ones below without cringing?
‘Look at all the things I do for you.’
‘If it weren’t for me, you’d be __________(fill in the blank)’
‘I slave all day and this is the thanks I get.’
‘I make it possible for us to live like this but all you can do is complain.’
‘I keep this house together, cook your food, chase kids all day, and pay the bills; the least you could do is pay attention when I need to talk.’
The common thing these statements have going for them is arrogance. They are born from an attitude full of itself. I do this, I do that, I sacrifice, I am the hub around which the whole wheel spins, I am, I am, I am. Sounds like Ali in his heyday shouting , ‘I’m the greatest’. Bragging about who ‘loves’ most (which is what those statements are saying – ‘I love better than you and I can prove it’) has no place in a healthy relationship.
My wife and I have a playful way of expressing our love for one another that’s a fun twist on this topic. I’ll tell her I love her and she’ll respond that she loves me more. Then I say, ‘I love you bigger’ and she’ll respond, ‘I love you most’ and then we’ll both say, “nuh uh” several times until I usually give in and acknowledge that she loves me more. This is not the kind of bragging I’m talking about.
A person who feels he or she has to resort to statements like the ‘cringy’ ones I first mentioned is probably the one who really doesn’t have a clue what real love is or how to express it. They can’t get their minds off of themselves and how much they are putting into the relationship. It’s all a steaming pile of self-focused deception. Those things we do may be one of the ways we try to show love but banging a gong about them is simply irritating and seriously unloving.
Love doesn’t trumpet it’s accomplishments. It’s meek.
Meek is an old word that sounds like ‘weak’ to many of us. It’s not. It means that we are humble, patient, submissive, and easily approachable. This is the kind of person we all want to be married to. Meek doesn’t mean the person doesn’t have the passion and drive to succeed or to protect. It means that we possess a quiet, confident spirit that doesn’t chafe easily. We are not always on guard for an offense. We don’t feel like someone isn’t pulling their weight.
The heart of it is that we energetically do what we know is right to do without regard to whether anyone notices or not. The need to be noticed does not fit with being meek. The person who says, ‘look at what I do’, ‘what about me?’, ‘I don’t get no respect’, is craving attention in all the wrong ways.
The ‘what about me’ cloud settles in over me sometimes. It’s tempting to say some of those awful things to those I love. What keeps me from it? It’s the same thing (when I chose to do it!) that keeps me from all the other unloving things I’m tempted to do. It’s the realization and determination to do whatever it is God asks me to do without any regard to how anyone else responds to it. And the chief thing God asks me to do is to imitate His Son and the chief thing Jesus did was to love. As long as I’m focused on walking in Jesus’ footsteps, I do alright.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. Jesus – Matthew 11:29
Have you gotten focused on how someone is responding to your efforts to show love? Have you started making it all about them and their responsibilities instead of sticking with what you know is right to do regardless of what they do? What if they are too immature, too self-centered, too busy to notice what you are doing? Does that mean you should stop doing it?
Some would say yes. They will reap the reward of that approach. Jesus chose to say no and we are reaping the rewards of His sacrifice. He died for us while we were still sinners. (Romans 5:8) Our sinful disregard of His good deeds did not deter Him from doing them. Neither should our loved ones’ disregard of ours.
I’m not going to make any promises that if you love meekly, you’ll eventually see your loved ones respond positively. They might not. I will promise you that God will fulfill all His promises to the meek and they are many. Look at these.
The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the Lord that seek him: your heart shall live for ever. Ps. 22:26
The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way. Ps. 25:9
But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. Ps. 37:11
When God arose to judgment, to save all the meek of the earth. Ps. 76:9
The Lord lifts up the meek: he casts the wicked down to the ground. Ps. 147:6
For the Lord taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation. Ps. 149:4
The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. Is. 29:19
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Mt. 5:5
That’s an impressive list of promises, isn’t it! They are for those who love humbly without any regard to the response they receive. They are not for braggarts and the arrogant. They are for those who are determined to submit and consider everyone as better than themselves.
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves (Philippians 2:3)
They are for those who want to enter into the depths of how Jesus loves. Do you want to know the length and breath and height and depth of the perfect love of God? (Ephesians 3:18) Seek to be meek.