Hidden Ways of Love

Not all love is overt, obvious and felt, perhaps as much or more love is unseen, could love be like an iceberg with ninety percent of its ice hidden below the surface of the sea? I don’t know the entire range of Love, nor the limits of its character; given it is from God it is perfect and infinite, but there is much hidden love. For example, our scriptural definition of love includes, “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.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) When we do not envy others it is unseen, when we withhold boasting, it is unseen, when we do not dishonor others through complaints, criticism, disrespectful comments it is love unseen. Others easily see anger, but not always when anger is restrained. When those who could recall our many failings and wrongs forget them, we may never see the love they are expressing. What if, we started to give a critical complaint to someone who deserved it, but rather, held our peace, so they didn’t feel discouraged, embarrassed or scolded, wouldn’t it be a loving act. Does love criticize every time it has reason to do so? Does love express disagreement in every situation it can?

There is an entire field of unseen love that comes from silence, trusting, hoping, humble attitudes within our own heart toward others. No one, even those to whom we show this love, may ever know it, except God. Scripture says, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:13) Just like the power of prayer that is hidden, but directed to and heard by God, some forms of our love are unspoken, unseen,  not acknowledged, but not necessarily unappreciated. (Matthew 6:6) “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Philippians 2:3-4) This is a very high level of love that first looks to the interests of others. This is not a suggestion to withhold any act of Love, but rather to recognize when the loving thing is restraining our fallen human nature. “Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult.”(Proverbs 12:16) 

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