Love Stories (Part 3)

The stories some of our friends sent our way have been on my mind the last few days. I’ve promised to share them with our readers. Here are some of them.

A fun love story or two.

An anthropologist asked a Hopi Indian why so many of his people’s songs dealt with rain. He answered, “Because we need it so badly and it’s so scarce.” Then, after a moment, the Hopi said, “Why are so many of your songs about love?”

The young girl brought her guy home to meet her parents. Her mother was terrified on seeing the tattooed, spiked-haired, bearded, earring-wearing, rough-looking young man. She said, “Honey, is he nice?”

The daughter was offended. “Certainly he’s nice,” she said. “If he wasn’t nice, why would he be doing 5,000 hours of community service!”

This woman loved her man.

Pastor E. V. Hill led a church in the Watts section of Los Angeles during some of the worst racial trouble of the sixties and seventies. At one time, the rioting was so bad, an African-American preacher was killed because he associated with the Whites. According to rumor, Dr. Hill was next on the list.

A phone call in the middle of the night woke up Pastor Hill. An anonymous called informed him that his car was a target for bombing. He tried to keep this from his wife, but she would have none of that. She insisted he tell her.

The next morning, Pastor Hill could not find his wife. Then he noticed his car was gone. After a few minutes, the car drove up to the house and she got out.

He asked, “Now, why did you do that?”

She said, “If your car was to be bombed, I wanted to die instead of you.”

Pastor Hill would tell that story and add, “Since that day I have never asked my wife, ‘Do you love me?’ I know.”

He would add, “And since that day two thousand years ago when the Son of God died on that cross, I have not needed to ask God, ‘Do you love me?’ I already know.”

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The Most Potent Kind of Love (Greatest Love Stories–Part 2)

If you could do one thing that would cinch your reward in Heaven, boost your reputation on earth, honor God, please Jesus, liberate the Spirit, infuriate the devil, puzzle your enemies, edify your church, encourage hurting believers, silence the church’s critics, draw outsiders to Jesus, and dissolve any anger inside your heart, wouldn’t you do it?

Then, love your enemies. That will accomplish all this and more.

On Facebook last week, I asked for the greatest love story you know. The ones we received–maybe 15 in all–told almost entirely of romance. There were some good ones, and we ran several in the earlier segment on this theme. More will follow.

However, I’m of the strong conviction that the best, the strongest, the most potent love stories have little or nothing to do with romance.

There are at least four levels of strong, good love, which increase in effectiveness and winsomeness as they intensify.

First level: You love someone who loves you back. This is the way all love should operate, we think. Sweethearts fall in love and marry and all is well. Grandparents love the kid and the child thinks the world of them. Best friends are BFF.

Second level: You love someone who does not know you exist. The person ignores you completely. Half the songs on the country music hit parade are fueled by this kind of pain.

Third level: You love someone who is unable to return your love. This variety is far stronger and infinitely more admirable. A parent cares for a handicapped child, a husband nurses a comatose wife, an adult looks after a parent with Alzheimers. Day after day, year after year, the love flows one way only.

Fourth level: You love someone who throws it back in your face. This is what Jesus had in mind when He said, “Love your enemy” (Luke 6:27). This is the finest example of Godly love, Christlike love, to be found.

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The Greatest Love Stories (1)

A great love is one that overcomes all obstacles.

The greatest love story is not one in which a wonderful man finds a terrific woman, they fall in love, they get married, and they live a blissful life thereafter. It’s a good love story, but not the best.

The best story–the kind I’m calling the greatest love story–involves overcoming obstacles of time or rejection or distance or heartbreak. Such a story tells of devotion in the face of discouragement, determination in the face of opposition, and the triumph of hope over despair.

A couple of days ago, I invited Facebook friends to tell me their best love story. I expect three or four. I received a dozen and more are still coming in.

Now, what I’m actually doing is working on a sermon about “the greatest love” which I will preach in two churches, and a Valentine’s banquet program for a third church. The thought occurred to me that, even though I know some great love stories, there are plenty of others out there that need to be told.

Here are some of the ones that have come in. Most are abbreviated since some were four pages long. I’ll use first names only.

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