Love Is Your Food
Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it. (Proverbs 15:17 ESV)
This is such a powerful verse.
Let’s Filipinize this passage: “Letsugas with love is better than Lechon with hatred.”
The world is telling you, “You need Lechon to be happy.” The world is telling you, “You need success, money, achievements, fame, pleasure to be happy.”
There’s nothing wrong with Lechon if you eat it once in awhile. But it’s not what you really need. At the end of the day, the Bible says you need love.
And you know what? Your soul isn’t the only one that needs love. Your body needs love as well. Medical research today confirms this. Test after test after test prove that love makes our physical body healthier.
Here’s God’s message for you: Love is your food.
People Are Love-Malnourished
In the previous articles, I introduced to you the 7 Doctors of the Body: Dr. Breath, Dr. Sleep, Dr. Drink, Dr. Food, Dr. Move, Dr. Sun, and Dr. Green.
In another article, I introduced to you the 3 Doctors of the Mind: Dr. Laughter, Dr. Trust, and Dr. Purpose
In this article, I’ll introduce to you the 2 Doctors of the Heart: Dr. Commitment and Dr. Forgiveness.
When you are in love, medical research says that you body is healthier and your immune system is strong.
By the way, do you know how to know if a person is in love? There are four signs.
First, he’s always laughing, no matter what happens. Someone asks him, “Was there a lot of traffic coming here?” and he says, “Oh yes, there was a lot of heavy traffic, Haha…” Another person asks him, “I heard your grandmother is the hospital. Is that true?” and he says, “Yes, the doctor says she’s dying, Haha…”
Second, he’s always on the phone. When he’s talking with his beloved, they can’t seem to put the phone down: He says “Bye!” and the other person says, “Bye!” And they laugh and they repeat, “Bye! You put the phone down first…” and the other person says, “No, you put down the phone first…” And they laugh again. And guy says, “Okay, let’s put down the phone together. 1, 2, 3…” and then more laughter.
Third, he’s forgetful. He forgets his eyeglasses, his jacket, his book, his wallet. And he still laughs. “Oh, I forgot my laptop, haha…” But if he’s angry and says, “Darn it! I forgot my laptop!” he’s not in love. He’s just ulianin (forgetful).
Fourth is… Hmm, let me see… Gee, I forgot. Hahaha.
But medical research says that any kind of loving relationships—not just romantic love—makes your body healthier. Love in your family. Love among friends. Love for God.
Here are the two doctors of the heart…
Love is your food!
Look around you.
Many are starving to death.
Recently, I met a very lonely man who stayed most of the time at home with only a maid taking care of him. His wife left him, his adult children don’t talk to him, and he had very few real friends.
Here’s what I noticed: He was not only lonely, his body was slowly dying. When he described his sicknesses to me— and they were many— it was like all his internal organs, one by one, were just signing off. It was like his kidneys, his liver, his gallbladder, his heart were all submitting their resignation papers to him, saying, “We don’t want to function anymore.”
Why? Love is our food. If we don’t get love, we die.
According to Dr. David Mclelland, one of the most well known doctors in the field of psychoneuroimmunology, people who enjoy loving relationships are two times healthier than people who don’t.
And people who lack loving relationships increased their risk of early death by 50%— almost the same risk as those who smoke 15 cigarettes a day.
And among adults with heart disease, those who don’t have loving relationships are 2.4 times more likely to have a fatal heart attack.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the label in cigarettes that says, “Warning: Surgeon General has declared that smoking is hazardous to your health.” Well, I think we should have another label pasted in every human being on planet earth: “Warning: Spiritual General has declared that lacking love is hazardous to your health.”
Do you want to be healthier?
You need to be in loving relationships.
But loving relationships don’t just happen.
You have to make them happen!
Loving relationships take a lot of work.
Are You a Chicken or a Pig?
The only way for loving relationships to happen is through commitment. Unless you put top priority to your relationships, they won’t work.
I remember the classic story of the pig and chicken. One day, the pig and the chicken were walking on the road, and the chicken said, “Hey, let’s open a restaurant! We can call it Ham-and-Egg Restaurant. I can see it already. It will be very successful.”
The pig thought about it and shook his head. “I’d rather pass.”
“Huh? Why?” the pig asked the chicken.
“Because you’ll only be involved, while I’ll be committed.”
The chicken is involved. The pig is committed.
The reason relationships don’t work is simple: We just want to be chickens— not pigs. We just want to give our eggs— not our body. We want to give a part of ourself— not our entire self.
Loving relationships require selfless sacrifice.
Are You Willing The High Price?
Love costs something.
Are you willing to pay the high price?
When I got married almost two decades ago, there was no skype then. So when I went on a mission trip abroad, I had to call my wife long distance.
I had very little money then so I had to really calculate how much I could afford. I was going to Indonesia for 6 days—so I researched. The Ad says I needed to pay P20 per minute. So I calculated if I called up my wife for 25 minutes, that’s P500. If I called her up for 6 days, that’s P3000. I could handle that.
So I went to Indonesia and called up my wife everyday.
Every time I called her, after around 10 or 15 minutes of talking, my wife would say, “Hey, this call is already expensive.” I’d say, “Sweetheart, nothing is too expensive for you.” But actually, I had a stopwatch on my right hand, counting the seconds—hoping that it won’t reach 25 minutes.
And I made my wife very happy.
But a few days after I arrived home, I received the phone bill—the phone company was charging me P28,000. At that moment, I had a heart attack, a stroke, and a miscarriage all at the same time. And my soul left my body.
My wife, who was standing beside me, read the phone bill and almost cried. “Oh no, you’re spending P28,000 for me!”
I looked at her, held her hand, and said, “You’re worth that amount and more. Speaking with you is priceless.”
My message? Love is expensive. I’m not talking about money. I’m talking about dying to your comfort, convenience, and selfishness—for the other person.
And one of the biggest things you must sacrifice is your time.
Put More Love On Your Calendar
So do it now. Put more love on your calendar. Fill up your calendar with regular time with the people in your life.
People me ask me all the time, “Bo, what’s your secret? How can you do all that you do? You’re preaching, writing, running businesses and leading ministries, yet you still have time for your family. How do you do it?”
There’s only one secret: Priority. The first thing I put in an empty calendar is my relationships. I fill my calendar with love. When they’re written down, I then put my other activities—work, meetings, etc.
Right now, if you look at my calendar for next year, big chunks of my year are already booked. With what? Meetings with the most important people in my life.
- Weekly date with my wife
- Weekly date with my two sons
- Weekly date with siblings and their families
- Dates with my friends and fellow-leaders
- Small groups (I’ve got lots of those.)
- Vacations with the same people above
Here’s what I learned: If you’re not going to design your future, someone else will. Oh, believe me, other people have many designs for your life—and these things may not be what God wants you to do.
Go do it. Deepen your connections.
That’s your food.
Stop starving yourself.
Especially your connection with the most important Person in your life. Each day, have your date with God. Spend time with Him in the best way you can.
And throughout the day, always connect Him. As the Bible says, Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17 ESV)
2. Dr. Forgiveness
Once, I met a drug addict who looked like he just walked out of a horror movie. He was a walking skeleton with some clothes on.
Here’s why: Shabu will make you not eat for days. But aside from starving from real food, he was poisoning his body through his drugs.
That’s exactly what happens to people who don’t forgive. Bitterness is a drug. Remember that love is your food. Bitterness not only prevents you from receiving love, it actually poisons your body.
I say this because each week, I pray for a lot of sick people. I cannot count the number of sick people who are sick because of unforgiveness. Cancer, heart disease, hypertension, lung problems, ulcers—you name it—many of them are simply manifestations of the bitterness poisoning their entire system.
Jesus said, Happy are those who are merciful to others;
God will be merciful to them! (Matthew 5:7 GNT) Haven’t you noticed? You can’t be hateful and happy at the same time.
Let me give you my favorite analogy for chronic anger: It’s like holding a knife to stab your enemy—except that you hold the blade instead of the handle.
So each time you stab, you give your enemy a dull pain—but your hand is mutilated. The tighter you grasp, the fiercer you stab, the deeper you cut yourself.
Sometimes, people ask me: What is hell like?
I tell them, “Have you ever met a bitter person? That’s hell.”
Never Wait for the Other To Deserve Forgiveness
“But Brother Bo, that person who hurt me hasn’t asked for forgiveness yet. He hasn’t repented. He doesn’t deserve to be forgiven!”
Have you heard that line before?
I have. Many times.
And it’s foolishness. Because you don’t depend on the other person to do something before you drain out the poison of anger out of your body.
Let me give you an analogy. If an evil person pushed you into a giant vat filled with toxic chemicals, do you say, “I’m not getting out of this pool of poison until that person says sorry to me.”
That’s nuts. But that’s what bitter people do. They wait for the offender to repent before they forgive them—not understanding that they are swimming in a vat filled with poison—the poison of their bitterness.
Don’t wait. Get out of the pool of poison that you’re swimming in right now.
I tell people, “You forgive not because they deserve to be forgiven but because you deserve to forgive. You deserve the inner happiness, spiritual freedom, and if I may add, the robust health that comes from forgiving others.”
This is how God forgave. Man didn’t deserve forgiveness. St. Paul said, he saved us. It was not because of any good deeds that we ourselves had done, but because of his own mercy that he saved us. (Titus 3:5 GNT)
And that’s how we should forgive too.
Forgiveness Is a Decision
Jesus said, If you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:15)
Forgiveness is a command. Because forgiveness is a command, it follows that forgiveness is not a feeling—because you can’t command yourself to have feelings of forgiveness. Forgiveness is not an emotion but a decision. Yes, it’s possible that when you decide to forgive, you’ll still feel the hurt deep in your heart. But don’t worry. When you decide to forgive —and keep deciding—God’s power will work in your heart, and the feelings of forgiveness will follow in due time.
Forgiveness and Friendship Are Different
Note: Unconditional forgiveness doesn’t mean, “going back to the close relationship that we had before…”
You don’t have to accept your unrepentant, philandering husband into your life again. You don’t have to become business partners again with someone who stole money from you. You don’t have to become best friends with someone who double-crossed you and is a chronic liar.
That’s not the meaning of forgiveness. Forgiveness means releasing that person from any debt, giving up any desire for revenge, and actually blessing that person.
Forgiveness Must Be a Lifestyle
Do you take a bath every day?
I hope so. Why? Because we get dirty every day.
In the same way, we are also emotionally dirty because people are not perfect. That includes you too.
And it’s very possible that you’ll hurt someone and you’ll get hurt by someone too.
So at the end of the day, before you sleep, bathe with forgiveness. Daily, release the poison of vengeance from your heart. So that forgiveness becomes a lifestyle.
Bitterness is poison.
Don’t swallow poison.
Instead, eat your food regularly.
Love is your food.
May your dreams come true,