Love is not an intention

Posted on · Posted in Fear of the Lord, Gospel, Parenting

Too often we cover our backsides with intentions. We intend to love, so we tend to ignore the impact of our actions. For example:

“I am so sorry I got angry with you. It is just that I love you so much and I know that what you did will be bad for you. I just needed to get your attention right away.”

Hint, your child is not buying this.

A decision was made to replace love with anger. But, you may protest, that was not my intention! However, intentions are not safe guides unless they are informed by Scripture. This is why the Bible does not define love by a state of mind or by intent. Love is defined by actions consistent with obedience to the Holy Spirit.

Look carefully at this description of what love is in I Corinthians 13:4-5. The Holy Spirit does not say love intends to be patient. He says love is patient.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Look carefully at this description of love. If you are struggling in your relationship with spouse or with your children, it may be because you are intending to love instead of acting in love.

Are you loving or merely intending to love? This is why you need your Savior. You can intend to love in your own power. But you can only truly love by the power that is found in Christ Jesus.

Shepherding a Child's Heart

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Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.