Well today we get to launch a brand new series called “Love Life.” Do you love life? How is your love life? Is it rich, is it full? So today we’re going to talk about love life and today I’m beginning, it’s based on 1st Corinthians 13, I’m beginning with verse 7. “Love bears all things. Love believes all things. Love hopes all things. Love endures all things.” In other words, love believes! Let’s juxtapose that with 1st John 4:18 that says, “Perfect love casts out all fear.” Anybody here have any fear in your life? I’ll bet you do. Who has struggles with fear? Fear of paying the mortgage, fear of keeping your job, fear of your relationship with you marriage or a spouse falling apart. What are you afraid of today? “Perfect love casts out all fear,” says 1st John 4:18. Dad says give to them, okay.
The opposite of fear is faith, everybody knows that. But this verse tells us that the opposite of love is fear. You cannot have love without faith. You cannot have love without faith. Love that casts out all fear is love that believes. Love that believes. The question is what do you believe in, whom do you believe in, because you see everybody believes in something, even if it’s nothing. Let me say that again. Everybody believes in something even if it’s nothing, because even a belief in nothing is still a belief. So we all believe in something but what do you believe in? Whom do you believe in? The bible verse here says love believes and I would say love believes what? Do you believe the best or do you believe the worst?
Today I believe this passage is telling us love believes the best. And we have a choice; you always have a choice what you will believe in, whom you will believe in. Love believes the best, St. Paul tells us. The best in others. Oh some of you have heard things from other people and you think oh.. you hear things about them and you’ll say I believe that and it’s worse, it’s not good. You jump to negative conclusions. But what would happen if you jumped to positive conclusions.
You know my husband, we were just beginning to date, one day he said Sheila, I’m going to take you to a restaurant. Okay, we were going to have a date by going out to dinner at a restaurant. He picked me up and he drove me to a restaurant at the foot of a mountain, and he parked the car in the parking lot and he said now Sheila, you wait here. And he ran into the restaurant. I’m thinking who goes to a restaurant on a date with a guy and he tells you to wait in the car while he runs into the restroom, what kind of date is this?
Well pretty soon, Jim came back and he had two bags, two plastic bags with, you know, Styrofoam containers and I could smell it was fried chicken. He threw them in the back seat, he jumped back in the car and we took off again. I thought what are we doing? Where are we going? And I was very intrigued to say nothing of the least.
And so he took me and he drove me up this meandering road to the top of the hill and pulled into an overlook where you could look out and you could see the valley below. And he parked the car, turned the ignition off, and I looked down, beautiful lights twinkling and a moon and it was nice, it was quiet. And then he reached in the glove compartment and he got a little candle, stuck it on the console and he lit it. Then he reached in the glove compartment, pulled out a card and he handed it to me and it said “to the most beautiful girl in the restaurant.” And we began to sit there in our quiet little romantic car, overlooking the valley below, eating fried chicken to candlelight and it was very romantic and I have always thought wow, what a guy. I mean that really did it for me, you know, then I was all anxious to marry this man.
Well, many years later, as I was going through all my cards and sorting them, I kept that one. I saw that again, “To Sheila, the most beautiful girl in the restaurant,” and I thought wait a minute, I was the only girl in the restaurant. So see, we can choose to believe, we hear messages, you hear messages all the time and you can choose how you will interpret it and how you will hear that message. Will you hear it positively or will you hear it negatively. Will you believe the best or will you believe the worst? I would like to say today, get a love believes the best hearing aid, even if you’re only 12 or 13, get a love believes the best hearing aid, one that will amplify the positive and filter out the negative because you have a choice, what you will believe when you hear messages. Will you believe the best about other people or will you believe the worst? Will you jump to negative conclusions or will you jump to positive conclusions? Many of us have, we’ve heard things about people, we’ve seen them do things, colleagues, not just spouses, not just family members, but we see people, neighbors, and we right away think the worst about them. This verse says no, “love believes the best.” And it’s a choice we have.
You know as an educator, one of the theories that I studied as part of my dissertation was Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligence’s theory. If you’re an educator, you know about this theory. Most educators do, but once you get beyond the realm of education, I find that many, many people have not heard about this theory. Howard Gardner, from Harvard, he also teaches at the Boston School of Medicine. Howard Gardner is very, very well renowned. And he started looking at the IQ test. You’ve all heard of an IQ test, yes? Raise your hand if you’ve heard of an IQ test. Yes, we’ve all have. The IQ test has been around since 1900, right about then. The IQ test and it’s used to measure how intelligent we are or we are not. And when they measure it, they put children or people on a bell curve. Statistically, where do you fall on the bell curve? Some fall high, some fall low, the majority of us fall in the average. We’re averagely intelligent, according to the IQ and the bell curve. Howard Gardner comes along and he says wait a minute; the IQ test only tests two intelligences: spatial reasoning, which is like math, and another one which is language arts. Reading and writing. Two intelligences.
Howard Gardner said wait a minute, if the brain, if there are other cognitive abilities within the brain that can be lost through damage, then that’s an intelligence. So he started studying people who had brain damage. He started to say what cognitive abilities did they lose with that brain damage and some of the things he saw were athletics, sports, kinesthetic, and he said you know what, that’s an intelligence then, too. If you’re a dancer, if you’re an athlete, that’s a kinesthetic intelligence. If you’re a musician, that’s something that can be lost through brain damage. Music intelligence. If you have this ability to get along with people, to understand others, that’s interpersonal intelligence. If you understand yourself, that’s intrapersonal intelligence. He started to add and he came up with the first time around seven intelligences and he calls them intelligents. Not talent, not gift, an intelligence because it’s a cognitive ability that it resides in the brain. You either have it or you don’t have it. You have it, you can lose it. God created it. I love his theory. Why? Because it talks about human potential. God didn’t make some children really intelligent, other children not intelligent. He didn’t make some children average intelligent, He made all of His children intelligent and He gave all of us wonderful, wonderful gifts because God created you beautiful and special and unique; a wonderful combination of seven or more intelligences. Isn’t that amazing?
And so the thing I love about it too is that when we look at children, when we look at other people and we see them as potential, we believe the best in them, they become what we believe they will be; self-fulfilling prophecies. We know that that happens. And what happens when we believe the best about other people? Don’t they become better? What harm is it when we believe the best about somebody. What harm is it when we believe, when we hear a rumor and we say no I believe the best about that person. There’s no harm and lots and lots of good that can come from believing the best about others. Believe the best about God. Oh yes. Many of you have been praying, many of you have been beseeching the Lord, you have gone to Him and you have said Lord, I want help, Lord I need help, Lord, guide me, and now I have run smack dab into trouble. I’m ready to lose my house, I have a job that I’ve worked my whole life for and I hate it. I’m in a marriage where I don’t know if it’s going to last or not. And your life is in crisis and it’s so tempting to believe the worst about God and to think is there really a God there? If He is, doesn’t He care? Doesn’t He see? It’s tempting, people, to believe the worst about God instead of believing the best about Him. I believe the best about God, I believe that everything He tells me will come to pass.
Here is what God says to you, no matter what situation you’re in. He says, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Believe the best about Him, believe that He will never leave you or forsake you. He says, “All things work together for good.” Believe Him. All things will work together for your good. He says, “You are more than conquerors.” Believe Him. You are; you are more than a conqueror. He said, “I have come that you might have life.” Believe that. He has come that you might have life. Believe that! Believe the best about God.
Love believes the best about yourself, too. You know it’s very tempting to do this. Look in the mirror; I’m not even one of those people who likes to look in the mirror. I’m never all that excited about what I see, especially these days. I look in the mirror and I see wrinkles, I see age spots, I see triple chins. When I look in the mirror, I tend to think I’m ugly, unattractive, too fat, whatever. Roots; my hair. My hair is flat, straight. Whatever. Ugly. Now I happen to know that I’m not the only one who thinks that when I look in the mirror. If we’re all honest with ourselves, we look in the mirror; we do not like what we see. We do not like what we see. And we would change it.
Sometimes I look in the mirror of my life and I say I’m unfit. And I don’t just mean unfit at the gym, in physically fit and I am, but I mean unfit like uneducated, inexperienced, not adequate for the job. Who of you feels unfit at your job? Who of you feels unfit as a father or a mother? Who of you feels unfit as a neighbor, as a spouse. Who of you feels unfit as a child? We all feel unfit sometimes. And there are times when I look in the mirror and I see failure written there. Failure, failure, anybody ever feel like a failure? I think some of the biggest fears, you know, talks about perfect love casts out all fear. One of the biggest fears we all face is the fear of failure.
Do you ever look in the mirror and feel unloved? And feel despised and rejected? Do you ever feel that way? Even I have felt that way. Didn’t feel loved. Felt despised, felt rejected. It happens. Everybody feels that way from time to time. Maybe you looked in the mirror and you felt unworthy. Who are you to feel that anything good should happen to you? You haven’t deserved it. You haven’t earned it. Ugly, unfit, failure, unloved, unworthy. Wow.
We look in the mirror, people, sometimes we look in the mirror and we believe the worst about ourselves. We don’t love ourselves. We believe the worst about ourselves. But the good news is that perfect love that casts out all fear is that Jesus Christ came to erase all of this. He said no, you are not unworthy, no you are not unloved, no you are not a failure, no you are not ugly, no you are not unfit. I made you beautiful. I made you perfect. You are My child. I made you the way I want you to be. And here is the truth. Here is the truth. I can choose to look in the mirror and see those lies from the great deceiver, or I can look in the mirror and I can see God’s truth. He says Sheila, you have a stunning soul. A stunning soul. I love that. Who wouldn’t want a stunning soul! He says Sheila, you have multiple intelligences. Multiple smarts. Not just one, not just two, multiple! Multiple smarts. He says you are successful, you are My successful daughter. He says you are loved, loved with a love that nothing can separate. “Neither height nor depth nor powers nor principalities.” Nothing, nothing created on earth, nothing can separate you, Sheila, from My love. Nothing can separate you from God’s love. That’s the promise. And He says you are forgiven, My child.
When you look in the mirror, people, can you believe the best about yourself? Can you believe you are a stunning soul? Can you believe that you are multiply smart? Can you believe you are successful? Can you believe you are loved? Can you believe you are forgiven? Can you? You choose that today because God believes. God believes the best about you.
Let us pray: Oh God, thank You. What a gift that You give to us; love, a perfect love that casts out all fear. Oh God, You give us a love that believes, a love that has faith, and oh God, You believe in us. And You believe the best about us, and You’ve given Your life to show us how much You love us. So oh God, give us the courage to love ourselves and others and You with the same beautiful powerful, positive love. Amen.