Lately I have been reading about the Christian women in China, Pakistan, and India whose husbands are not believers. They are in danger of unthinkable abuse. But Arona was not afraid for her life. She lived for Christ openly in front of her always-drunk and abusive husband. She did not preach to him but was constrained by the love of Christ to love and honor her husband.
The small, close-knit network of Christians in her village prayed earnestly for Arona, and finally there was a breakthrough. Her husband had become violently ill. He was mentally unstable and extremely dangerous. Arona, however, continued to care for him and love him. Then one day her husband cried out to Christ for help and was not only healed of his mental disability, but his soul was healed as well.
Today they are happily married, and serving the Lord. From the Scriptures Arona understood what love is and what it is not. I call this the 8 constraining “K-nots” of love (the 8 constraining “knots” and “nots” of love) taken from 1 Cor. 13:
rejoicing with the truth,
bearing all things,
believing all things,
hoping all things,
enduring all things,
love never fails or is never ending.
Love is not:
does not brag,
is not arrogant,
does not act unbecomingly;
does not seek its own,
is not provoked,
does not take into account a wrong suffered,
does not rejoice in unrighteousness.
Constraining love is both what we give and what we don’t give. Arona is one of my heroes and role models. She understood that her life was not her own. And because she was constrained by the love of Christ, the power of God was unleashed to break the bondage of sin in her husband. “For the love of Christ constrains us . . . that they who live, should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf” (2 Corinthians 5).
Constraining love is not a shield for suffering and abuse. Constraining love is a power with a promise that never fails.