by Rick Warren
“It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart.” (Philippians 1:7a NIV)
I’ve discovered that if people are not on my heart, they’re on my nerves. If you don’t have your kids in your heart, they get on your nerves. If you don’t have your husband in your heart, he gets on your nerves.
The reason so many marriages are crumbling is that mates are reacting to each other from their minds rather than their hearts. When your wife says, “I feel depressed,” listen to her; it’s legitimate. When your husband says, “I don’t feel this is the right thing for us to do, and I think we ought to do it this other way,” listen to him.
Heart love begins with understanding why someone feels the way they do. Ask questions, and then listen. Hear the hurt, look for the problems, and know what makes your mate tick. You need to understand the moods of the people closest to you — why they act the way they do. If you care, you’ll be aware.
How do you love people who, even when you do understand them, you find them unlovable? “God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:8 NIV). In Greek, the word “affection” is the word for intestines. In Greek society, the Greeks thought that the seat of the emotions was in your stomach, your liver, your internal organs.
Paul was saying, “I’ve got a gut feeling of love for you.” That is not a natural kind of love. It is a supernatural kind of love. That’s why Paul said it’s not from himself, but it’s the affection of Christ Jesus. Human love wears out and dries up and dies on the vine. The only kind of love that lasts in spite of heartache and difficulty in tough circumstances is God’s love — the affection of Jesus Christ.
So how do you get this kind of gut love? “God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Romans 5:5). God’s love is not something you work up. It is something that is poured into you by the Holy Spirit as you let him live in you day by day.