Broken – Love Poured Out
Editor’s Note: This post is part 2A in the Biblical Garden of Love series. I just completed 5 posts on patience (See below for links) and now we move onto kindness.
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Welcome to the Biblical Garden of Love
…where you live in a perfect world on an island of perfect love and respect,
…where nothing ever goes wrong and no one and nothing can ever hurt you,
…where you have everything you’ve ever dreamed of
…and where everything is sheer bliss all the time 24-7.
Errr! Wrong answer. Guess again.
The Biblical Garden of Love is…
a) a place where married couples work through their day to day living,
b) a place that requires constant patience,
c) a place that requires consistent kindness,
d) a place that often gets sticky, messy, confusing, screwy, and scary, but totally rewarding if you’re willing to get your hands dirty, to root out the weeds, to give the flowers some tenderloving care and exercise some Christlike behavior?
How about all of the above? Remember back in the beginning of this series when I asked you this question: What does your ideal garden look like? Think of marriage as it was intended as the ideal garden and then think of your garden. How close are you? How far off are you? Don’t be discouraged. Maybe you don’t have a green thumb. Maybe you could care less about nature. But I can tell you this: You do not care less about love, and chances are you love your husband very very much and want to work at things. And marriage requires much much more than a “green” thumb. Marriage requires all hands on deck. It requires holding onto each other and pointing each other back to God.
Just A Quick Refresher
In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul talks about being nothing and having nothing without love. I can have an extra hour of sleep. I could give all my money to the poor. I could speak every language in the world. I could possess all the knowledge of the world. But if I don’t have love? It doesn’t mean diddly-squat because I have nothing.
1 John 3:16 says, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters…” ahem! and husbands and wives.
What is love and why is it so important? Christ gave up His life for us. He was the ultimate servant. When He was in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night He was handed over to be tried, he didn’t say to the men, “Just a few more minutes… I need an extra hour of sleep,” or “Come back later. I’m busy right now.” No, He followed through to the C (and that stands for Cross), and through His death and resurrection, He loved and redeemed us.
1 John 4:19 says, “We love because he first loved us.” I should love my husband, not merely because he is my husband, but because God loved me first. As a follower of God, I submit myself humbly to His will and strive to be like Him – to be a servant.
Well what does it mean to be a servant? Being a servant means if my husband needs me first thing in the morning, I rise cheerfully and willingly. Being a servant means stopping what I’m working on to make him a dinner to take to work. Being a servant means exercising patience, but also treating him with kindness and respect.
The Holy Trinity of Kindness
Kindness is a gift from God the Father.
Psalm 117:1-2 says, “Praise the LORD, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples. For great is his kindness toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD.”
We need to praise God for the gift of His kindness toward us. It is a gift. We were undeserving. We were pitiful in our fallen state. And yet God gave freely so that wouldn’t have to pay the painful price of our sins. What a wonderful gift that is!
Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
Because God the Father has loved us and loves us, because He had great mercy on us, and because He was and is kind to us, so we should also be loving, merciful, and kind to the #1 human in our life – our husband!
Kindness is modeled by God the Son – Christ Jesus.
If you want examples of Christ’s kindness, just look at how He treated women. When Jesus was in Bethany right before His crucifixion, a woman came up to him and poured a jar of expensive perfume on him and wiped his feet with her hair – the ultimate act of service. When the Judas Iscariot rebuked her, believing she should have sold the costly bottle and given the money tot he poor, Jesus stopped him and said,
“Leave her alone. Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
Wow! Not only did Jesus uplift this woman because of her beautiful act of service, but He also said that wherever the gospel would be preached throughout the world, her story would also be told in memory of her. The woman broke the jar of perfume so she could kindly serve Jesus. We to, like the jar, are to be broken before Christ, offering up our everything to Him, serving Him with kindness and reverence, and in turn, showing great kindness and mercy to others.
Jesus defended the defenseless; He healed the wounded and the sick; He raised people from the dead; and He told of salvation and the kingdom of heaven through storytelling. He didn’t do any of this to gain favor, glory, or power. He did this because He genuinely cared about people and treated them with dignity, kindness, and respect.
Shortly after this, Jesus washed His own disciples feet, the lowest of tasks. He humbled Himself to care for these men because “Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end” (John 13:1).
When Adam and I were still engaged, I was at the apartment while he was at work trying to get some studying done, trying to get some quiet away from campus. I was upset about something, and I remember being frustrated as I couldn’t remember the last time I had showered. My feet were black and dirty from walking around in flip flops, and on top of everything, I lost my engagement ring. I panicked and started crying as I searched high and low. I was convinced that this was some kind of sign that I wasn’t supposed to marry Adam, and I remember crying out to God, begging Him for a sign of clarity and asking Him to forgive my lack of faith. When Adam came home, I was lying on the floor distraught. He didn’t say a word, but he picked me up, carried me to the bathroom, and washed my feet. If that wasn’t a sign, if that wasn’t love, I don’t know what is. Adam demonstrated Christlike kindness toward me and it was such a beautiful picture of how much he and Christ loved me, enough to humble themselves on my behalf.
Kindness is evidence of the work of God the Spirit.
Titus 3:3-8 says, “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. ”
God had great compassion on us and kindness toward us. Through His Son, He saved us, not by anything that we did to deserve it, but because of His rich mercy and kindness. He did this by washing us clean, regenerating us, restoring us, and renewing us, bathing us in the Holy Spirit. Because of the richness of His kindness, we have the hope of eternal life with Him.
And let me let you in on a little secret: Eternal life starts now. It doesn’t start tomorrow or way off in the future. It starts now. We can have a wonderful, close, and intimate relationship with the Father who loves us so deeply and demonstrated His mercy and kindness through the sacrificial life, death, and resurrection of Christ, and who bathes us in the Holy Spirit so that we too may love others and extend to them kindness.
And because we’ve been saved and we believe in God, we are to devote ourselves to good works – to serving others. These good works didn’t save us and don’t save us. Salvation is a free gift. But it is because we have been saved, because we have experienced the amazing power and wonder of the Gospel message – the fully finished redemptive work of Christ on the cross – we want to respond to God with a heart of service and we we want to respond to others with kindness. Kindness is evidence of the Holy Spirit working in us.
How is God calling you to show kindness to your husband?
Think of one thing you can do today to go out of your way to be kind to your husband. Start small. You don’t have to tackle a mountain all in one day.
When we serve the Lord, we are called to give our all – even our most expensive and precious possessions.
What perfume jars are in your life that you need to offer to the Lord? How can you bless your husband by humbling yourself as Christ did?
1. When Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect an introduction to the Biblical Garden of Love: practical advice on allowing the Gospel to work
2. What is Love? an introduction to 1 Corinthians 13
3. Does Patience Grow on Trees? Part 1A “…bliss will not last forever, and that trouble in paradise is inevitable…”
4. Does Patience Drive Your Car? Part 1B …“Being impatient is like driving down a road in the middle of a storm and suddenly realizing there’s a tree down in front of you…”
5. But What if Patience Doesn’t Fit? Part 1C “Write gentleness and kindness on your heart every morning just as you’d wear your wedding ring faithfully.”
6. I Take Thee to Be My Husband…and then I’ll work under you, be your personal slave, and never have an opinion of my own forever Part 1D Patience is not… stoicism, fatalism, escapism, passivism, isolationism, or humanism.
7. A Flourishing Marriage Part 1E A Look Back on What We’ve Learned about Patience “Gardening requires lots of water – most of it in the form of perspiration. “~Lou Erickson