LOVE AMPLIFIED IN DAILY LIVING
FROM THE BOOK "750 ENGAGING ILLUSTRATIONS"
In Rhythms of the Heart, Phil Hook writes:
My mother and I did not "mix." I chose a typical teenage solution
to the problem-silence.
I would leave for school in the morning, come home to eat, then
leave again. When I was finally home late at night, I read books.
Invariably, my mother would come downstairs and ask me if I
wanted a sandwich. I grunted my assent. She cooked egg and bacon
sandwiches for me night after night until I left home for good.
Years later, when our relationship was mended, she told me why
she had made all those sandwiches. "If you would ever talk to me,
it was while I made that sandwich," she said.
Hook writes, "I've learned love is found in a consistent display
of interest, commitment, sacrifice, and attention."
Child Rearing, Kindness, Mothers, Teenagers John 13:1-17; Titus
On the morning of Sunday, November 8,1987, Irishman Gordon Wilson
took his daughter Marie to a parade in the town of Enniskillen,
As Wilson and his twenty-year-old daughter stood beside a brick
wall waiting for English soldiers and police to come marching by,
a bomb planted by IRA terrorists exploded from behind, and the
brick wall tumbled on them. The blast instantly killed half a
dozen people and pinned Gordon and his daughter beneath several
feet of bricks. Gordon's shoulder and arm were injured. Unable to
move, Gordon felt someone take hold of his hand. It was his
"Is that you, Dad?" she asked. "Yes, Marie," Gordon answered. He
heard several people begin screaming.
"Are you all right?" Gordon asked his daughter.
"Yes," she said. But then she, too, began to scream. As he held
her hand, again and again he asked if she was all right, and each
time she said yes.
Finally Marie said, "Daddy, I love you very much."
Those were her last words. Four hours later she died in the
hospital of severe spinal and brain injuries.
Later that evening a BBC reporter requested permission to
interview Gordon Wilson. After Wilson described what had
happened, the reporter asked, "How do you feel about the guys who
planted the bomb?"
"I bear them no ill will," Wilson replied. "I bear them no
grudge. Bitter talk is not going to bring Marie Wilson back to
life. I shall pray tonight and every night that God will forgive
In the months that followed, many people asked Wilson, who later
became a senator in the Republic of Ireland, how he could say
such a thing, how he could forgive such a monstrous act.
Wilson explained, "I was hurt. I had just lost my daughter. But I
wasn't angry. Marie's last words to me - words of love - had put
me on a plane of love. I received God's grace, through the
strength of his love for me, to forgive."
For years after this tragedy, Gordon Wilson continued to work for
peace in Northern Ireland.
Love can do miracles. Just as Marie Wilson's last words to her
father lifted him onto the plane of love, so God's love for us
lifts us onto a whole different plane, enabling us to love others
no matter how they treat us.
Bitterness, Enemies, Forgiveness, Peace Matt. 5:38-48; Rom. 12:21
Bruce Thielemann tells the story of a church elder who showed
what it means to follow Jesus.
A terrible ice storm had hit Pittsburgh, making travel almost
impossible. At the height of the storm, a church family called
their pastor about an emergency. Their little boy had leukemia
and he had taken a turn for the worst. The hospital said to bring
the boy in, but they could not send an ambulance, and the family
did not own a car.
The pastor's car was in the shop, so he called a church elder.
The elder immediately got in his car and began the treacherous
journey. The brakes in his car were nearly useless. It was so
slick that he could not stop for stop signs or stop lights. He
had three minor accidents on the way to the family's house.
When he reached their home, the parents brought out the little
boy wrapped in a blanket. His mother got in the front seat and
held her son, and the father got in the back. Ever so slowly they
drove to the hospital. Says Thielemann:
They came to the bottom of a hill and as they managed to skid to
a stop, he tried to decide whether he should try to make the
grade on the other side, or whether he should go to the right and
down the valley to the hospital. And as he was thinking about
this, he chanced to look to the right and he saw the face of the
little boy. The youngster's face was flushed, and his eyes wide
with fever and with fear. To comfort the child, he reached over
and tousled his hair. Then it was that the little boy said to
him, "Mister, are you Jesus?" Do you know in that moment he could
have said yes. For him to live was Jesus Christ.
People who piddle around with life never know moments like that.
Loving as Jesus loved requires courage.
Courage, Risk, Sacrifice
Matt. 25:31-46; Luke 10:30-37; John 13:34-35;15:13
In his book "The Ten Laws of Lasting Love," Paul Pearsall
describes an important episode in a battle he faced against
Any time a doctor came with news of my progress, my wife would
join with me in a mutual embrace. The reports were seldom good
during the early phases of my illness, and one day a doctor
brought particularly frightening news. Gazing at his clipboard,
he murmured, "It doesn't look like you're going to make it."
Before I could ask a question of this doomsayer, my wife stood
up, handed me my robe, adjusted the tubes attached to my body and
said, "Let's get out of here. This man is a risk to your health."
As she helped me struggle to the door, the doctor approached us.
"Stay back," demanded my wife. "Stay away from us."
As we walked together down the hall, the doctor attempted to
catch up with us. "Keep going," said my wife, pushing the
intravenous stand. "We're going to talk to someone who really
knows what is going on." Then she held up her hand to the doctor.
"Don't come any closer to us."
The two of us moved as one. We fled to the safety and hope of a
doctor who did not confuse diagnosis with verdict. I could never
have made that walk toward wellness alone.
According to the "love chapter" in the Bible, love protects.
Cancer, Faith, Hope, Marriage, Protection Mark 5:35-43; 1 Cor.
13:7; Gal. 6:2
Mother Teresa of Calcutta, India, was the keynote speaker at the
1994 National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. The scene was
unforgettable: On either side of the podium sat President
Clinton, Vice President Gore, and other dignitaries. Aids rolled
the frail, eighty-three-year-old Mother Teresa to the podium in
a wheelchair and had to help her stand to her feet. She stood on
a special platform, and even with that the four-foot-six-inch
woman could hardly reach the microphone.
Nevertheless her words sent shock waves through the auditorium.
She rebuked America and its leaders for the policy of abortion.
"Mother Teresa said that America has become a selfish nation,"
writes Philip Yancey, "in danger of losing the proper meaning of
love: 'giving until it hurts. . . .'"
Mother Teresa said, "If we accept that a mother can kill even her
own child, how can we tell other people not to kill each other?
... Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people
to love but to use any violence to get what they want."
Mother Teresa pleaded with pregnant women who don't want their
children: "Please don't kill the child," she said. "I want the
child. Please give me the child. I want it. I will care for it."
She means what she says. Mother Teresa has already placed three
thousand children with families in Calcutta.
She is a model of self-sacrificing love, speaking out on behalf
of the weak and giving herself to serve them.
Abortion, Conviction, Courage, Sacrifice John 15:13
In "The Christian Leader," Don Ratzlaff retells a story Vernon
Grounds came across in Ernest Gordon's Miracle on the River Kwai.
The Scottish soldiers, forced by their Japanese captors to labor
on a jungle railroad, had degenerated to barbarous behavior, but
one afternoon something happened:
A shovel was missing. The officer in charge became enraged. He
demanded that the missing shovel be produced, or else. When
nobody in the squadron budged, the officer got his gun and
threatened to kill them all on the spot.... It was obvious the
officer meant what he had said. Then, finally, one man stepped
forward. The officer put away his gun, picked up a shovel, and
beat the man to death. When it was over, the survivors picked up
the bloody corpse and carried it with them to the second tool
check. This time, no shovel was missing. Indeed, there had been a
miscount at the first checkpoint.
The word spread like wildfire through the whole camp. An innocent
man had been willing to die to save the others! ... The incident
had a profound effect.... The men began to treat each other like
When the victorious Allies swept in, the survivors, human
skeletons, lined up in front of their captors ... (and instead of
attacking their captors) insisted: "No more hatred. No more
killing. Now what we need is forgiveness."
Sacrificial love has transforming power.
J. Allan Peterson, in "The Myth of the Greener Grass", writes:
Newspaper columnist and minister George Crane tells of a wife who
came into his office full of hatred toward her husband. "I do not
only want to get rid of him; I want to get even. Before I divorce
him, I want to hurt him as much as he has me."
Dr. Crane suggested an ingenious plan. "Go home and act as if you
really loved your husband. Tell him how much he means to you.
Praise him for every decent trait. Go out of your way to be as
kind, considerate, and generous as possible. Spare no efforts to
please him, to enjoy him. Make him believe you love him. After
you've convinced him of your undying love and that you cannot
live without him, then drop the bomb. Tell him that you're
getting a divorce. That will really hurt him."
With revenge in her eyes, she smiled and exclaimed, "Beautiful,
beautiful. Will he ever be surprised!"
And she did it with enthusiasm. Acting "as if." For two months
she showed love, kindness, listening, giving, reinforcing,
When she didn't return, Crane called. "Are you ready now to go
through with the divorce?"
"Divorce!" she exclaimed. "Never! I discovered I really do love
him." Her actions had changed her feelings. Motion resulted in
emotion. The ability to love is established not so much by
fervent promise as often repeated deeds.
Ian Pitt-Watson adapts this portion from "A Primer for
Preachers": There is a natural, logical kind of loving that loves
lovely things and lovely people. That's logical. But there is
another kind of loving that doesn't look for value in what it
loves, but that "creates" value in what it loves. Like Rosemary's
When Rosemary, my youngest child, was three, she was given a
little rag doll, which quickly became an inseparable companion.
She had other toys that were intrinsically far more valuable, but
none that she loved like she loved the rag doll.
Soon the rag doll became more and more rag and less and less
doll. It also became more and more dirty. If you tried to clean
the rag doll, it became more ragged still. And if you didn't try
to clean the rag doll, it became dirtier still.
The sensible thing to do was to trash the rag doll. But that was
unthinkable for anyone who loved my child. If you loved Rosemary,
you loved the rag doll - it was part of the package.
"If anyone says, 'I love God' yet hates his brother or sister, he
is a liar" (1 John 4:20).
"Love me, love my rag dolls," says God, "including the one you
see when you look in the mirror. This is the finest and greatest
Church, Unlovable People
Booker T. Washington was born a slave. Later freed, he headed the
Tuskegee Institute and became a leader in education. In his
autobiography, he writes:
The most trying ordeal that I was forced to endure as a slave boy
... was the wearing of a flax shirt. In that portion of Virginia
where I lived, it was common to use flax as part of the clothing
for the slaves. That part of the flax from which our clothing was
made was largely the refuse, which of course was the cheapest and
I can scarcely imagine any torture, except, perhaps, the pulling
of a tooth, that is equal to that caused by putting on a new flax
shirt for the first time. It is almost equal to the feeling that
one would experience if he had a dozen or more chestnut burrs, or
a hundred small pin-points, in contact with his flesh.... But I
had no choice, I had to wear the flax shirt or none....
My brother John, who is several years older than I am, performed
one of the most generous acts that I have ever heard of one slave
relative doing for another. On several occasions when I was being
forced to wear a new flax shirt, he generously agreed to put it
on in my stead and wear it for several days, till it was "broken
To be continued