WaterBrook Press(July 15, 2008)
The Author of a well known series on Relationships – The Five Love Languages books (each targeted to a different purpose or situation) – is back with even more insight into relationships and loving those around us. Love As A Way of Life reiterates one of the main points that is prevalent in his Love Languages books, change starts with me not the other person. If something isn’t working for me then I need to change what I’m doing or my attitude and motivation regarding it. When I start treating others as valuable they will come to see me the same way and act accordingly. Hopefully anyway – people learn from example and if I am not providing that then I can’t expect them to treat me any different than they experience from me. However, a quick caveat, no one can be forced to change and there might be instsances where for some reason a person won’t or doesn’t change in the way I’d like to see. This doesn’t relieve me of the responsibility to rely on God’s strength and power to aid me in being the best possible reflection of Christ to those around me that my humaness is capable of providing.
I think Chapman in his Love Languages books and now this one provides many tools that are useful in this regard. His concept in this new addition to the library of relationship tips is that there are seven components of loving those around us. Each one boils down to treating the other person regardless of my connection to them as I would a friend. All people were created by God and therefore all have value in His eyes as they should in mine. The seven ingredients to love he develops here are kindness, patience, forgiveness, courtesy, humility, generosity and honesty. He also recaps many times that truly displaying these characteristics as a loving member of someone else’s circle is heavily linked to my motivation and attitude. WHen I am being selfish, prideful or doing something that appears to be loving or fall into these other areas to gain recognition for myself or other gains that do not benefit the person the action is oriented to, I am not being loving and am exhibiting a shallow, false front of whatever trait I claim to be modeling. The key here is that we are all equal though unique in God’s design therefore we should treat others as our equals. Each unique contribution to life around us would leave our world poorer with its absence so we should encourage those contributions by valuing the contributor. (ISBN#9780385518581, 256 pp, $19.95)