Greetings one and all. I just finished reading a wonderful book by Dr. Gary Chapman called Love As A Way Of Life: Seven Keys To Transforming Every Aspect Of Your Life. Dr. Chapman also wrote the popular book The Five Love Languages and many other books on family and relationships.
This book has three parts and twelve chapters plus an epilogue. Part one is called Why We Want To Love. Part two is called The Seven Secrets To Love. And Part three is called Making Love A Way Of Live.
In part one the lone chapter is the first chapter and it talks about The Satisfaction of a Loving Life. Pretty much it is an introduction that sets the table for the whole book. It’s subject is to say how important authentic love really is.
Part two discusses the seven secrets to love. The seven are kindness, patience, forgiveness, courtesy, humility, generousity, and honesty. Each one is a chapter in itself. In the chapter on kindness we see how we can discover the “joy of helping others”. I love the definition Dr. Chapman gives here “Kindness means noticing someone else and recognizing his needs”. A perfect example of this in the Bible is in the parable of the good samariten. You probably know the story well, so I will briefly retell it. Pretty much a man is making a journey from Jerusalem and goes through a deep valley. While he’s going a band of robbers get him, beat him, take everything he had, and leave him half dead. While he’s laying there, a priest comes by but doesn’t stop to help him, and passes by on the other side. A Levite also goes that way and doesn’t help him either. Then a Samariten comes by and he helps him. He bandages his wounds and takes him to the hospital. He gives in headman money to keep and help him and offers to reinburse the man for any extra expenses. That is a perfect example of kindness. The next chaper is on patience. It is “accepting the imperections of others”. Dr. Chapman defines patience as “allowing someone to be imperfect”. I think a good Bible story about patience is the prodical son from Luke 15. A father’s youngest son demands to have his inheritance right now, and takes it and runs off to the far country. There he waistes it all living the high life. He made lots of friends while there, but they all run off and leave him when his money was gone. He has to find a job and gets one feeding pigs out of a feeding ben. The poor guy even longs to eat what the pigs are eating. Then he comes to his senses, realizes he’s done wrong, and goes home. Back home his father is sitting on the poarch watching the horizen for his son waiting for him to come home. Then he sees him. He’s so excited and jumps up and runs to meet him. But while the son was on his way he reherses a speech, “dad, I’m no longer worthy to be called your son, but please let me be like a heird hand”. When he and his dad meet he starts his speech, but his dad would have none of it. The whole house had a party because one of his children was lost and was found again. To me thats a great example of patience. It’s also a great example of forgiveness, which is the next chapter. Forgiveness is difined as “using honesty, compassion, and self-awareness to reconcile with someone who has hurt you”. The next chapter is on courtesy. It is defined as “the act of treating everyone as a personal friend”. As always Jesus is the perfect example of courtesy. He never turned down a request for healing through out the gospel accounts. And He never healed the same way twice. Every time was instantly and permanetly. The next chapter is on humility. It is “steeping down so someone else can step up”. It is defined as “a peacefulness of heart that allows you to stand aside to affirm the value of some one else”. One of the proverbs says God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Certainly God can humble us, but it is an attitude we must embrace in ourselves. The next chapter discusses generousity. It is giving yourself to others. It is defined as “giving your attention, time, abilities, money, and compassion freely to others”. A great example of generousity in the Bible is the poor widow how put in her last bit of her income in the offering plate, all she had to live on. And the last of the seven keys is honesty. It is “revealing who you really are”. Of course Jesus was always honest. Even about the costs of discipleship, like He was with the rich young ruler. This man obviously would have followed Jesus, except that his stuff was more important to him then following Him. And he just wouldn’t let go of his stuff.
The last section of this book is on “making love a way of life”. Each of the three chapters talks about how we can make love a way of life in certain areas of our lives. The first is “making love a way of life in marriage”. In marriage the husband is called to sacrifice for his wife the way Christ sacrified Himself for the church. Both are called to humbly respect eachother. At the end of this chapter Chapman says “Without the seven traits of a loving person, our self-centered nature will take over when the excitement of dating fades. When we learn to love authentically, we have the opportunity to experience a depth of relationships that’s more satisfying than any temporary euphoria”. When a man and woman love eachother and commit themselves to eachother in marriage is a beautiful site to behold. Eachone loving, respecting, and serving eachother. It is beautiful to see. The next chapter is on Making Love A Way of Life in Parenting. Chapman says, “Loving your child with the seven traits is the most fundamental parenting skill you will ever learn”. In this chapter (and in the previous chapter on marriage) he looks at what the seven keys of making love a way of life would look like in our marriages (in the previous chapter) and in parenting (this chapter). The next chapter he looks at how we can make love a way of life in the work place. We look at the seven keys in the work enviornment as well. And the last chapter and epilouge talk about The Motivation to Love. The altimate enemy to authentic love is self-centeredness. But Chapman says it “… is an addictive cycle that can be broken”. In our marriages we must learn to sacrifice for our marriage partner. We must sacrifice in all walks of life as well for the betterment of another. The seven keys in this book will help us do that. Also asking three basic questions can help you especialy in marriage: (1) “What can I do to help you today”, (2) “How can I make your life easier”?, and (3) “How can I be a better husband to you”? And the epliogue summerizes the book very well. Woodrow Wilson once said, “You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand”. And Albert Schweitzer has said, “One thing I know: the only one amoung you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve”.
Thank you Dr. Gary Chapman for writing this excellant study! His books on the five love languages are excellant as well. I hope to read more of his books in the future. I highly recommend this and anyother book by Dr. Gary Chapman. I invite any comments anyone may have. God bless you all. Grace and Peace.
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