I thought I really knew how to love…now I’m not so sure.

It’s not that I’m completely clueless when it comes to love. Believe me, being married for 8 years and having two daughters will teach you a thing or two about it…whether you want to learn or not. And I can imagine that many of you reading this probably know at least the basic concepts of love.

For some of us, it’s the natural byproduct of growing up in a love-filled household.

For others, it comes from the destructive aftermath of bad relationships or circumstances, where we learned precisely what love is NOT.

It really doesn’t matter whether you got your love education from “Easy Street Academy” or the “School of Hard Knocks”…neither one of those life schools can really give you all there is to know about love. Our human experiences, no matter how enlightening they may be, don’t adequately teach us how to love purely. The reason for this is quite simple: we as human beings, whether we want to admit it or not, are flawed, limited, and, by nature…wait for it…selfish.

Yes…selfish. It’s such an ugly word that defines an even uglier character trait. I doubt anyone in their right mind likes being tagged with it, but the reality is, it’s something engrained within all of us. What makes it even worse is how sneaky it can be. Selfishness doesn’t always look like selfishness.

Case in point…for her birthday this past April, my insanely beautiful wife asked me to take her out to one of her favorite restaurants. I was all too eager to do it, because I always look forward to any exclusive “us” time we can get. I was on Cloud 9…until I got a call from her on my way home from work that completely soured my mood. What, you may ask, did she say that turned my cheesy grin into an ugly frown?

My lovely wife had the nerve to invite some friends to dinner with us.

WHAT?!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!! We have the rare opportunity of a nice evening to ourselves, and you want to muck it up by inviting other people? Come on, babe…this was supposed to be our night out, a break away from the kids, from work, from the cares of life…I mean, nights like this are few and far between, and you know this. WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?!!!

I had a nasty attitude nearly the entire ride to the restaurant…until my wife gently reminded me of the reason for us going out in the first place…it was for her birthday.

See what I mean? Do you see how easy it is for us to turn even a well-intentioned act of kindness into something that is self-serving? This, my friends, is why we will NEVER learn to love right without Jesus.

Speaking of which, judging from my “love-flop” just now, I think I need to check back into His love school.

Written by Wayne

Wayne is a husband, father, avid reader and writer, and youth minister who happens to believe that Jesus is central to every aspect of life…the individual, family, society, government, philosophy, the arts…and everything in between. He’s committed to challenging preconceived notions about what it means to follow Jesus, and seeks to engage the culture instead of running from it.

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