How To Fertilize Love
Love is the greatest thing in
earth or heaven. Out of it flows most of the things that are
worthwhile in life. Love of relatives, love of friends and
love of the brethren (1 John 3:14) make life worth living.
There is no heart so empty as the heart that is without love.
There is no life so joyful as the love-filled life. Love puts
a song in the heart, a sparkle in the eye, a smile on the lips
and makes the whole being glad. And God's love is greater than
all else. He who has God's love has a continual feast. There
may be sorrow and care and suffering in the life; but if there
is love, it lightens all these.
Sometimes there is not the love for the
relatives that there ought to be. Sometimes there is not the
love for the brethren that should characterize us. When we
realize this and feel our lack, the question naturally arises,
"How can my love for them be increased?" Plants cannot grow
without fertility; that is, the soil must contain the elements
necessary to growth. If these are absent, they must be
supplied, or there can be no harvest. This is equally true of
love; it must be fertilized if it is to grow. Do you realize
that you are lacking in love for someone? Do you manifest as
much affection toward your conjugal companion as you did in
days gone by?
There are very many things that may choke our
love in the home. One of these is the lack of kindness. If you
have grown less kind in your feelings, in your actions, and in
your words, love cannot thrive. Kindness is one of the best
fertilizers for love. Do you show the same consideration for
the feelings and tastes of your companion as you used to show?
There are so many people who have two sets of tones in which
to speak, and two sets of manners in which they act. They have
their company manners and their family manners. When they have
company, the voice is soft and pleasant; the manners are
agreeable and kindly. They treat their friends with the
greatest consideration; but as soon as their friends are gone,
the pleasant voice changes into crossness or harshness and
faultfinding, and the pleasantness of manner disappears. In
how many homes is this true! The greater consideration, the
greater kindness, is due the home folks. Otherwise, love
cannot flourish. If you wish to have love for your home folks,
you must show them the consideration that is due them.
Some professors of religion are like the
catbird. When it is away from its nest, it is one of the
sweetest of the northern warblers, and so it is often called
the northern mocking-bird; but when it is close to its nest,
you will hear only a harsh, discordant note. It has not
sweetness in its voice while at its nest. Some people reserve
all their kindness, tenderness, and sweetness for those
outside the family circle. Is it any wonder that love dies in
such a home? If you realize you do not love some one enough,
begin to consider his desires. Begin to show a special
interest in him. Watch for opportunities to be kind to him.
Try especially to be agreeable, and you will soon find that
this reacts upon yourself; in a short time you will find your
love increasing; and the more you follow this course, the more
your love will increase.
I have been asked if we should love all saints
the same. Some have even taught that if we were right in our
souls we would love one of God's children as much as another.
This, however, is not possible. Even Jesus loved some of his
disciples more than others. There were three--James, Peter and
John--who were closer to him than the others; and of these,
John was most beloved. He calls himself "that disciple whom
Jesus loved." If love for the brethren depended solely on
spiritual things, then possibly we might love all the same;
but it depends to a great extent on other things as well.
Jesus loved John much because of John's loving nature. We love
those most who seem to us most lovable. We are drawn most to
those whose dispositions and characters and interests appeal
most strongly to us. There are those who are saved, who,
because of their faults or unlovely dispositions, repel us
rather than attract us. We will not find ourselves drawn into
the same close relations with them as with the others. There
is danger of a twofold nature. On the one hand, we are liable
to love some so much that we become partial towards them to
such an extent that others will feel that we do not value them
as we should. On the other hand, there is danger of looking at
the unlovely qualities in another until we lose sight of the
good that is in him, and grow prejudiced against him until it
becomes hard to feel the proper love for him.
If we realize we do not love some of the
brethren as we should, let us cease looking at the unlovely
things, and look for the good things, the noble qualities.
Seek out these things, keep them before the mind; overlook the
faults and failings and unlovely traits. Begin to show special
kindness, make it a point to speak to these brethren kindly;
show an interest in them. Watch for a chance to do something
helpful: go out of your way to do them favors. Possibly you
own coldness has much to do with their attitude and feelings.
Be as genial and sunshiny toward them as you are toward your
closest friends. Some reserved natures need sunshine to open
them up, just as do some flowers. Have you not seen flowers
open up in the sunshine and threw their fragrance upon the
breezes, and then, as a heavy cloud suddenly overspread the
sky and the dark shadows fell, quickly close up? It is just
that way with some natures. If we radiate sunshine, they
unfold their beauties to us; but if we are cold and distant,
we are permitted to see only the rough exterior. Love begets
love. If we so act that love in us may grow and develop, we
shall be loved in return.
Love cannot survive carelessness, indifference
and neglect. These things are poison to the tender plant. We
can easily kill the love in our hearts, or we can cultivate
and increase it till its blossoms and fragrance are the
delight of our lives. If your love is not what it ought to be,
try fertilizing it with kindness, gentleness, and
self-sacrifice, and take away the weeds of selfishness,
carelessness and indifference. You will find that love will
grow and increase, and become sweeter and tender with the
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