Take It with Love and You Can Take It
HAPPY are they that can take it! In this old world we all at times are likely to rebel or chafe a little at what we may be compelled to endure. It may be discipline, or disaster, or racial discrimination, or it may be just the plain monotonous routine of earning a living or caring for a home and family. Do you want to be able to take whatever your lot in life offers without rebelling or chafing? Then take it with love and you will be able to take it!
Of course, it might seem that it would be far simpler if you could escape by running away from it all. Not a few family heads do that very thing, which accounts for so many deserted wives and children. Others, again, try to escape mentally so as to forget, for the time being, their lot in life. Such is termed “escapism,” and it is defined as “diversion of the mind to purely imaginative activity or entertainment to escape from reality or routine; especially habitual diversion of this kind.” Among such “escape mechanisms” are indulging in fantasies that flatter one’s vanity, an extreme case of which is the mentally sick person who imagines he is Napoleon or some other “great” man. Another form this takes is withdrawing into a shell of self-pity or developing a martyr complex. All such escapism is a sign of immaturity and obviously does not solve the problem.
The mature, the right and wise way to take these things is to take them with love. Not that faith and hope cannot help you. No doubt about it, they can and will. But even more so will love, for “the greatest of these [three] is love.”—1 Cor. 13:13.
Whatever you may be required to take, love will help you to take it. Discipline, for example. If youths love their parents, their teachers, their instructors, their elders; if old and young alike love those who are set over them, regardless of where or who they may be, then they will be able to take counsel, discipline and correction without chafing or rebelling. Then they will feel like David when he said: “Should the righteous one strike me, it would be a loving-kindness; . . . which my head would not want to refuse.”—Ps. 141:5.
Often misunderstanding is hard to take. You may feel that the other one should know better, is laboring under false impressions or is acting inexcusably selfish. Love, however, will enable you to make allowances for that one, to exercise patience and try to straighten out the matter. Love will keep you from being unduly sensitive in your relations with others, thus making it easier for you to take it. It will enable you to “continue putting up with one another.”—Col. 3:13.
Then, again, disaster may strike suddenly, in the form of loss of job, home or loved one. How will you take it? “Curse God and die,” as Job’s wife foolishly counseled her husband? Or take it with love, thankful for what has been spared? As Job himself said: “Shall we accept merely what is good from the true God and not accept also what is bad?”—Job 2:9, 10.
Or are you the victim of some prejudice—cultural, economic, national or racial? Are you suffering religious persecution? Love will keep you from chafing, from becoming bitter, from seething inside with schemes of vengeance or retaliation. Rather, it will make you feel like Jesus did when he prayed: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”—Luke 23:34.
Or perhaps you are among the many family heads whose lot it is to do monotonous work day in and day out in order to provide for those dependent upon you. Love for your family, however, should enable you to bear this burden without undue chafing. Remember, your family is looking to you to provide for them, they are of your flesh and blood and are yours! Is not the fact that you are able to provide for them far more important than the particular way by which you may get the necessary means? Surely!—1 Tim. 5:8.
The same, of course, applies if you happen to be the wife and mother. Without love the daily routine of making beds, cooking meals, washing and ironing, cleaning and shopping and otherwise caring for your brood, may be O so dreary. But if you have love in your heart for your husband and provider, for your children that you conceived and, by the miracle of birth, brought into the world, then you will appreciate how much your efforts contribute to their well-being and happiness, and it will not be too hard to take.—Prov. 31:10-31.
Yes, regardless of what it may be—perhaps weighty responsibilities that you cannot conscientiously get out from under—take it with love and you will be able to take it. Interestingly, men of science are at last becoming aware of the importance of this need of love. Says anthropologist Ashley Montagu in his latest book (1962), The Humanization of Man: “This is not a new discovery in the world, what is new is that scientists should be rediscovering these truths by scientific means. Contemporary scientists working in this field are giving a scientific foundation or validation to the Sermon on the Mount and the Golden Rule: To do unto others as you would have them do to you, and love your neighbor as yourself.”
Some 3,500 years ago Moses was inspired to write, “You must love your fellow as yourself,” and more than 1,900 years ago Jesus showed that love sums up the whole duty of man—love of God and love of neighbor as of oneself. They appreciated the importance of love.—Lev. 19:18; Mark 12:30, 31.
And in particular does the apostle Paul show us what love is like: “Love is long-suffering and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, does not get puffed up, does not behave indecently, does not look for its own interests, does not become provoked. It does not keep account of the injury. It does not rejoice over unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” Since love can do all these things, is it any wonder that if you take it with love you can take it.?—1 Cor. 13:4-8.