General News

Spiritual Matters by Rev Chris Sparks

A Love-Story without Equal

Not many sleeps before Christmas now! And the Advent countdown brings us to the next, and very appropriate theme of Love.
Clearly, consideration of the gift of love is not limited to the Sunday before Christmas. We turn to this topic frequently for the scriptures are always reminding us that God is love; that’s his nature and personality; that’s what makes the Big Fella tick; and that’s what he longs to see demonstrated in the lives of every human being – and particularly every Christian.

But it ain’t easy: Love. In fact, it can be very hard because love for God and love for others inevitably conflicts with our own peculiar needs and wants – and we have an unfortunate habit of following the dictates of our own hearts before giving any consideration to the needs of others or making any attempt to address those needs at all. The evidence presented in the divorce courts of the land serve as tangible proof of this!

A newspaper columnist and minister by the name of George Crane once told of a wife who came into his office seething with hatred toward her husband. “I don’t only want to get rid of him; I want to get even” she said. “Before I divorce him, I want to hurt him as much as he’s hurt me!”

After listening to the outburst, Dr. Crane thought for a moment, then suggested an ingenious plan: “Go home and act as if you really love your husband. Tell him how much he means to you. Praise him for his every decent trait. Go out of your way to be as kind, considerate, and generous as possible. Spare no effort to please him and to enjoy him. Leave him in no doubt that you love him. Then, after you’ve convinced him of your undying love – and that you can’t live without him, drop the bombshell. Tell him bluntly that you’re filing for divorce. That will really hurt him!”
With revenge glinting in her eyes, she smiled and exclaimed: “Beautiful; beautiful. He’ll be so surprised!”
So, she returned home and quickly implemented the good doctor’s plan – with enthusiasm.
For two months she showcased love; acted kindly; listened attentively; gave of herself; and together they shared in every activity – reinforcing the message that was designed to thrust the proverbial dagger into her husband’s heart!
But as time passed and she didn’t return to his office, Dr Crane rang her. “Are you ready to go through with the divorce now?” he asked.

“Divorce?” she exclaimed. “Never! I’ve discovered that I really do love him.”
Her actions and efforts had turned the tide and changed the way she felt. Her husband had responded and mutual feelings of love and trust had matured and transformed their relationship.
This is surely the reality when we make a real effort – for whatever motivation or reason – to learn to love and trust another, and to love and trust God.
Christmas is a time when we really should re-think our attitude to Christmas – for it’s a love story not only based on reality, but a story without equal! The God of creation deigned to take upon himself human form out of pure love for us – to identify with our needs and struggles – becoming open and vulnerable because that’s what love is all about.
And it worked.  And works!