Last week I wrote about restraint. Continuing to contemplate this topic I have found an interesting connection. Restraint is a companion to love. If I love my neighbor as myself it stands to reason that I will restrain myself and defer to my neighbor’s wants and needs. If I do not love then why restrain myself. I will simply pursue whatever I want without regard for others. Therefore love provides a motivation for restraint.
When love motivates us to restrain ourselves we find those virtues rising up in us like the ones Paul writes about in 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7,
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, 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 produces restraint. In love I restrain myself and become a better person, more God like. I feel better about myself when I am patient and kind. I feel bad when I trample over others because I’m in a hurry. The people I push past and disregard don’t feel very well either. Wouldn’t it be great if I restrained myself because I love others as myself? Help me Lord!
God loves us. He restrains himself from judging us because he loves us. As I pointed out a couple of weeks ago God loves us all (see Another Perspective). Every human is God’s creation and he desires the best for us. The all-powerful God of the universe restrains himself because he loves.
Jesus could have called down a legion of angels to protect him from the humiliation, the brutal beating, and the horrible death of the cross? He restrained himself because he loves us. He carried through the Father’s plan for our salvation because he loves.