Looking through the Eyes of Love
My Sermon today is entitled “Looking through the Eyes of Love” and let me begin by reading two verses from the First Epistle of John in the Forth Chapter:
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love.” 1 John 4:7+8
In my Sermon today I am going to talk about love. Love is easy to talk about, but hard to do. Love is not something that just happens. In dealing with young people, very often they will tell me that love occurs when the chemistry is right, when the sparks fly. I grew up on that. Remember the song “Some enchanted evening you will meet a stranger across a crowded room” and that could be the biggest mistake of your life!
As a matter of fact, most Mothers are asked, “Mum, how will I know when I’m in love? How will I know when I have met the right one?” and almost every Mother in the country will look back and say, “When you meet the right one, you will know!”
That really helps, doesn’t it? – It clarifies nothing! Of course, it is not just as simple as that. The Bible makes it clear that
love is something that has to be created deliberately. Both the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible make that point. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God; Husbands love your wives;
Love one another; Love your enemies.” and so on.
Loving others, or the ability to LOVE is not something that an individual does instinctively. It is something that comes through deep commitment and a lot of hard work. Love is something you have to do. It is something you have to desire.
It is something that you have to dedicate yourself to.
I used to tell my students that getting married is no assurance it is going to be a good thing. The truth is that every wedding creates the possibility for a marriage. Weddings do not create marriages, only the possibility for marriages. Marriages are things that are created when people decide to love one another.
Not every couple who went through a wedding ceremony
have a marriage.
In order for you to have a chance at marriage, you have to make some important decisions about change. I think the first thing that has to be decided is this; You have to decide to give up power. Most of us are accustomed to power relationships. People don’t want to surrender or submit to others, because in personal relationships they want to dominate; they want to control; they want to influence and determine what other people are thinking and doing.
I have discerned that there is an inverse relationship between love and power. The more you love somebody, the less power you are able to exercise in that relationship. The more you love, the less power you have in any relationship and that goes for
a marriage. Imagine a husband and wife; He loves her desperately but She does not love him much at all. Who is in the position of control? Who can call the shots? Who is in the position of power? The answer is obvious. She is in a position of power because she doesn’t care. Whoever cares the most has the least power. Love, therefore, requires the giving up of power.
One of the most disturbing aspects of “marriage” is the unwillingness to surrender and submit to one another in Love.
Both Men and Women have been guilty of this, and in my experience from years of Marriage Counselling, I have found that in many homes the women have assumed the mans role?
Where the “on-lookers” can comment “She wears the trousers”.
This is not good, and I shall endeavour today to help you see WHY its not good for the marriage, the relationship and the happiness of the home environment. I am not now, nor ever have been a voice for political correctness. “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord” Joshua 24:15
I don’t care when the world or the government, or the media scream at me “we are all equal” …. what God says is not that.
We ARE all equal in personhood, but we are not all equal in role. The Judge on the Bench is equal in Personhood to the man in the dock, they are both homo-sapiens, both men, both created in the image of God, both different in role. One has the authority of the state behind him and can control the destiny of the other, while the other has no such role or authority. God created Men and Woman, equal in person, but very different in role. When Men try to be Women, or Women try to be Men, it displeases God greatly, it is a reversal of His ordained role and right – and it can only create trouble and problems. When the Wife becomes the Husband, or the Husband is the Wife, there is no joy in that house. The very word “husband” derives from two Latin words which mean house and bind, the husband is the cord that binds the home together. Until you can think beyond the word ME to the word US, then you have no marriage.
There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that if men and women understood their roles in the marriage relationship, and stuck to those roles – then the Divorce rate would crumble.
That is the whole story of Jesus coming into the world. Two thousand years ago the all-powerful God emptied himself of power and became vulnerable. He became a baby in a manger and eventually died on a cross, because He wanted to change
the world with love.
Let me share with you something that the Apostle Paul writes on the subject. We find his arguments in Ephesians Chapter Five. Paul is speaking here of how we can experience the Filling or Fullness of the Holy Spirit, and one of the requirements for such filling is being in the place of Submission. In relation to marital submission, lets look at what he say in Ephesians 5, and we will break in if we may at verse 21 … lets read;
“Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands,
as unto the Lord.
For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it”; Eph 5: 21-25
Here Paul is defining the Roles as God intended they should be. And notice that there is a difference, God does not want us
being the same.
They are Husbands Love, and Wives Submit.
But notice that he begins with the words
“… submitting to one another, in the fear of God.”
While we must submit to one another as Christian to Christian, the defined roles are Husbands Love, … and love as Christ loved the Church, giving himself for her. (Wow – what a standard) And then Wives submit. Some think that just because I am single, that I don’t know much about women? Bu after more than 30 years of Counselling, I know this, that a Woman has no difficulty whatsoever in submitting to a man who is a Lover and not an Ogre! So if your home is going to be the LOVING home that God wants it to be, then, you have got to decide to give up
power. Ask yourself honestly before God today, if your wedding day has led you to a delightful marriage, or has it led you to a disastrous mockery? And if you are fooling yourselves and the world, remember you are not fooling God!
Then get into the habit of saying those three little words
“I LOVE YOU” . Yes, your partner does know you love them, but say it, and say it loud, and say it often, and say it when you don’t feel like saying it, and say it when they don’t merit it,
but say it anyhow, and say it NOW”
Then, you must make a decision to look at people in a different way. This thought is at the heart of my Sermon Title today
“Looking through the Eyes of Love” for I want to focus on what it is you see, when you look at the one you love?
In Chapter 13 of I Corinthians, the great love chapter, it says there are two ways in which we can look at each other. We can look at each other as “through a glass darkly”, or we can come together ” face to face”. Let me put it this way. There is a difference between looking at a person and looking into a person. There is all the difference in the world between looking at a person’s face and looking into a person’s eyes, and looking through a person’s eyes and reaching deep down inside and touching something special and sacred in the depths of their being.
The Jewish philosopher, Martin Buber, said it well. He said, “There are two kinds of relationships. There is the
IT relationship and the YOU relationship.”
I can look at a person as an “it,” as a thing, as an object of desire or affection; or I can look into the person and see something special, something sacred in that person’s being and that person
then becomes a “you” – an individual precious and cared for.
The great evil at the core of Pornography is that it sees the model (male or female) as an it, an object and not as a person. Thus it robs them of their uniqueness and individuality. It can also foster the notion that as an object it can be broken without consequences, while a person cannot be abused and broken without lasting and damaging effect. Think about that!
In Matthew 6:22, Jesus says that the eyes are entrances to the person’s being. If a person closes off his eyes or if you close off your eyes to that person, then there is darkness. The only question that Jesus asks is, “How great is that darkness?”
It’s fascinating that Jesus should say that the eyes are so significant, that through the eyes we enter into a person and touch something sacred at the depths of that person’s being.
When was the last time you looked into someone’s eyes? I didn’t say looked at their eyes, but looked into the eyes. Husbands, Wives, when was the last time you looked into your partners eyes? I didn’t say at your partner, but into your partner, reaching through the eyes down into the depths of the being to touch that which is special and eternal in them, – their soul?
Do you yet know what is in the Soul of the one you think of
as a “soul-mate”?Love does that. When we love one another, I mean not look at one another but look into one another, there is a redemptive, a healing event that occurs. I have discovered that those who have things to hide, never look me in the eye. Check it out and you’ll see what I mean.
The disobedient child may make all kinds of confessions and tell all kinds of stories, but when a child is being really honest and wants you to know something important, they will look you
straight in the eye without wavering. Often people say to me the thing that is wrong with parents is they don’t communicate with their children. And sometimes, that is true. We mistakenly believe that we are communicating with our children if we talk at them. There are so many parents who talk at their children. What we need is not so much parents who talk at their children … we need parents who know how to look into their children’s eyes and with real affection reach down to the depths of their being and love them there. When was the last time you entered into your child’s soul? When was the last time you entered into your husband’s soul or your wife’s soul?
When you enter into somebody’s being and touch their souls, what you discover there, is so much more precious, wonderful, and beautiful than what you see on the surface, for what you see on the surface does not even become worth mentioning when you talk about that individual. If you are looking AT me you will see only the externals; you will see how I dress, how I live, how I drive, how I talk, how I walk, how I eat, how I enjoy myself. You may see my abilities or my disabilities, but I am much more than all of those things. For if you look inside my soul, you will see how I am. You will see what is even more REAL about me.
In Marjorie Williams’s delightful little children’s story, The Velveteen Rabbit, there is a talk between a toy rabbit and a toy horse. It goes something like this. “What is real?” asked the rabbit of skin horse just before Nana came in to tidy up the room.
“Does real mean having things that buzz inside of you and
a stick-out handle?”
“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the skin horse. “It is a thing that happens to you when a child loves you, not just to play with, but really loves you. Then you become real.”
“Does it hurt?” asked the rabbit.
“Sometimes,” said the skin horse for he was always truthful. “When you are real you don’t mind being hurt, that is why it doesn’t happen to those who break easily or have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are real most of your hair (or fur) has been loved off. Your eyes drop out; you get loose in the joints;
you look very shabby. These things don’t matter at all, because once you are real, you can never be ugly (to the one who loves you) except to people who don’t understand love.”
The Story of many a well-loved (real) Teddy Bear!
It is a simple but sad fact of life that there are many Teddy Bears and many Cats and Dogs that receive more real affection in our homes than our Family members do. Put the Cat down, and cuddle your Husband, leave the leash and the Dog,
and take your Wife for a walk. And when you have put some valuable time and effort into spending time with your loved ones, get alone with the Saviour and spend some quality time with Him also. Jesus is here. He is here with me and He is there with you. Jesus is the one who as a living resurrected person wants to look into your being, touch your soul and love you.
If you will let Him, you can have that kind of relationship with God. God is a person who wants to enter in and touch the sacred “YOU” in your being. He wants to do it for a very important reason. For once you have been touched by God, you are ready to carry that experience into all the relationships of life
and touch other people.
I have a simple plea for you today and that is to love, not just get those warm, fuzzy feelings. Make a decision to concentrate and care and to look through people’s eyes into their souls and
touch what is holy, touch what is sacred and special in them. Every human being has something sacred and holy waiting to be touched if only you will make the effort. The good news is that when you love another, you yourself will feel loved. God is love and whoever walks in love, is born of God.
NOW THIS FINAL WORD
I thank God that for the most part, I have lived a very full and exciting life. My ministry has taken me all over the world and
I do feel thankful that by Gods Grace, I have been given the chance to impact many lives. Even now as I minister to you, week by week, there are many who will be asking for a copy of this or other messages because the Services have been a Blessing to them. I thank God that I have very few regrets about my life, and little, that in hindsight I would wish to change. However there is one thing that comes to mind today that I wish I had done, and did not do.
Let me tell you about “Lottie”. I remember her vividly when I was a child coming to tea with my Mother and her warm friendly and cheery disposition. She was a kindly old lady, who clearly loved the Lord and talked about Him more than she talked about anyone else! When I started work, my office was near to where Lottie lived, and she very kindly offered to fix me my Lunch every day, as long as I paid for the groceries, she would do the cooking and the washing up. This was leaving me more free time to enjoy my Lunch breaks. The relationship between us lasted for many years and I had begun to think of Lottie as a “third” grandmother. In fact on one occasion when I had gotten into a little argument with my Mother over something and Lottie was with us, …
I turned to her and said “isn’t that right Granny!”
… at which we all laughed and that was the end of the argument.
Sadly Lottie passed away one evening in her sleep, and it was I who found her when I opened her door the next morning. I was asked to Preach her funeral Service and on that day I told her Sister (at the graveside) that one of my great regrets then as now, was that I had never ever said; “Lottie I love you”…
and I did, just in the self same way that I had loved both of my Grandmothers.
Today, there may be someone who you love, really love, but they don’t know it. Maybe its your Partner, your Son, your Daughter, your Granny, or even your best friend. Why not tell them, lift the phone and tell them, write a note and tell them,
however you do it, just do it … and do it now.
And don’t forget to tell Jesus that you love Him too!