Our second core value is Loving Well. The first descriptor for this value is:
We follow the example of Jesus in loving each other well by building quality relationships through healthy communication, exercising vulnerability and practising selfless love.
If we are truly loved into life then the main way that will be shown is in the way we love one another.
We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other1 John 3:14 NIV
Loving well is hard work. It is not just a matter of sentiment and ‘being nice’. It’s about building quality relationships and that does not just happen. We have to work at it. But Jesus is our example and pioneer in this.
‘A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.John 13:34 NIV
Loving well involves honest, respectful and healthy communication. It means being real with one another but not using that as an excuse to just say what we like, careless of the other’s feelings. In fact, communication involves more listening than talking: that’s a main way people feel loved and valued. But it is impossible to communicate this way without being honest with ourselves about what is going on inside of us. We have to face up to and learn to manage our emotions, asking the Holy Spirit to help us understand what is going on in the deepest parts of us. That requires vulnerability with God, others and ourselves. And it’s an on-going process.
Of course, love also means making a quality decision to put others first. Christ like love is selfless. That does not mean we have no boundaries and that we let people’s demands dictate our lives. That is folly, not love. If we don’t take care of ourselves, it is difficult to love others well. But is does mean we put the interests of others before our interests, ‘rights’ and demands.
…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 NIV
And we seek to do this no matter how the others react. However they treat us, we make a quality decision to keep our love on. To stay connected.
One of the best books we recommend for learning to love each other well is Danny Silk’s ‘Keep Your Love On.’
…it’s vulnerable and scary to keep your love on toward someone who has become a perceived threat—you cannot guarantee what he or she is going to do. But you can guarantee your own choice. And you can always choose connection.Danny Silk
Jesus, thank you for the selfless love toward us that you demonstrated magnificently on the cross. Help us to follow your example in loving others really well. Amen