Selfless Love

“We just want what’s best for you.”

Those were the words spoken to me some years ago. On the surface, they sound caring and loving. But as I dwelt on them days later, I realised that under the surface of these words was not a desire for me to experience what is best. Under the surface was a desire for the speaker to maintain what was best for them. And that meant me abandoning the path I had chosen and taking one that served them instead.

It was a hard lesson to learn but a necessary one. People will tell you that they love you and want what is best for you. In many cases, it is absolutely true. There are people that will love you enough to be honest with you and tell you that your actions or behaviour is not right and there is a better way. However, in some cases, it’s not about what’s best for you but what’s best for them. Does it mean they don’t love you? Not necessarily. They very well could love you in their own way. But I have come to learn that just because someone says they love you, doesn’t mean they want what’s best for you.

Selfless love.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 states it best, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour 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.” Love is not self-seeking. Love is selfless and at times sacrificial. Jesus demonstrated this in an achingly beautiful way when He gave up His life for us before we even acknowledged him. We also see this demonstrated by Naomi in the book of Ruth.

Many times, when we read the book of Ruth, we skim past Naomi. And on the surface, it’s understandable why we’d skim past her. In chapter one, after losing her husband and sons, she is bitter and blaming God for her life. Not a role model many would choose. But if we look below the surface, we actually see that Naomi is in fact very loving and selfless. When Naomi became a widow and lost both her sons, she told both her daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah, to go back to their hometowns and find other husbands. Orpah agreed and left, however Ruth stayed and determined that she would go with Naomi and would worship her God (Ruth 1:16-18).

It’s not just about us.

Naomi could have and had every right to ask them to stay with her and they would have, yet she told them to go and make a new life for themselves. Why? Because in that day and age, being a widow that was past the remarriage stage and without any sons to look after you was akin to being homeless. It was a horrible situation for an older woman to be in. If she didn’t have any family members to take her in, she would essentially find herself begging for food, or gleaning in the fields after the harvest. When she looked at her circumstances, instead of making a decision that would have made her life easier, she chose to make the lives of Ruth and Orpah easier. Her telling them to go on and make a new life was a selfless act of love. Her actions were a beautiful example of ‘I want what is best for you’ in action.

As followers of Christ, we are called to love one another. To love our neighbour as ourselves (Mark 12:31). [bctt tweet=”We aren’t told to make decisions that make our life easier. We’re told to love God and others well. #ACW #leilaarmstrong” username=”acwriters”] To love our neighbour as ourselves. To not be self-seeking but to be patient and kind and caring. Sometimes that means letting people go so they can follow God’s path for their life. Sometimes it means saying no when we really want to say yes. And sometimes it means sacrificing something we love for another. It can look like a lot of different things, but at the core of it, loving with a selfless love means we do what is best by other people.

Let’s love well.

In this life, we will encounter people that won’t love us well. People that will be selfish and self-seeking. And whilst that is unpleasant and painful, we don’t have much control over it. What we do have control over however, is our own actions. How we love others. The way we care. The sacrifices we make. May we take inspiration from Naomi and love others with a selfless love.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s