Valentine’s day is around the corner and everyone is talking about love.
Whether it is “mushy” teenage love for a high school sweetheart or a more mature long-standing relationship, we know as we grow older that love is complicated!
The Bible sets some pretty high standards for true love to live up to in 1 Corinthians 13:1-13. However, knowing our frailty and inability to meet those standards, God opens His arms to those who fail and often fail miserably. He is willing to forgive and when we are ready to surrender, He renews us and fills us with His love to forgive and begin again. Our God is a God of new beginnings and transformation and He is particularly concerned about our marriages!
The Women’s Cycle of Life program has lessons that focus on and teach forgiveness in relationships. Here is an amazing story of a reconciled relationship told by project staff on the field:
We gave a marriage and parenting seminar to teach couples how to live with Biblical principles in their marriage and build relationships with one another and their children. We wanted to teach that God is a God of love and He can use a couple’s differences for closeness and unity, not for competitiveness or disconnection.
During our classes, we met Andre and Nala. Andre and Nala have been married many years and are also parents. From what we were told, it seems they had never come together in unity and true Godly love. Many times, they had separated then reconciled, and again separated, it was a vicious cycle. Their marriage was a tumultuous one, which was also emotionally draining on the children and family unit. One of their children, a 12-year-old boy was especially burdened by Andre and Nala’s arguments and discord. He was often yelled at and beaten by his parents. He was very unhappy. Many attempts were made by elders and close friends to help this couple.
God answered our prayers when this family decided to attend our seminar. On the first day, Andre’s heart was so touched by the teachings that he began to weep. We were so very happy to see this, but Nala still did not seem to understand. They came again the second day and by the end of it, she also was moved by the teachings. We sat with them and talked about the Word of God and they were reconciled in true Godly love. In the picture of the family, you can see that Nala is lifting her head, eyes, and hands to heaven.
Their 12-year-old son was listening to the reconciliation and the words we shared. He was smiling and so happy, he came to us and gave us hugs. His photo here shows his big smile.
This family has been an inspiration to us and the attendees of our seminar. We continue to communicate with this family to check in with them and ensure they are happy and well. We are told their elders and pastor are also communicating with them. They tell us they are all doing well and continue to live the life of their new unity in love through our heavenly Father.
In writing to the Corinthians in the chapter quoted above, the Apostle Paul says, “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 Cor. 13: 4-8a)
As you celebrate Valentine’s day this year and honor those you love, also consider those with whom you need to reconcile and let the love of Christ be poured into your life so that you too can take a bold step such as Andre and Nala took!