“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV
“Sometimes we are called to proclaim God’s love even when we are not yet fully able to live it.” Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey
Or, another saying that is so true, “If I know who I am, I know who I am not.” If I’m his child, his daughter/son, his disciple, servant, I am a person of love. Love is the hardest thing for me to do. You? It’s so easy to love others when my problems have dissipated, the sun is shining, money in the bank, recognition, approval, and the kids are behaving, the dog didn’t scoot across the new carpet. Unfortunately, that is a rare occurrence! We have problems every day. Commutes. Angry bosses. Health concerns. Kids with minds of their own. Gossips. Slanderers. Then the bigger problems: traumas, anxieties, addictions, bankruptcies. And we are STILL commanded to love. I have not accomplished this perfectly. Opportunities and practice come daily. All my posts reflect wrestling with God.
Jesus did perfect love. Jesus is our example of love. He forgave while hanging on a cross. He forgave his enemies while hanging on the cross.
So many times, we confuse love with feelings. Good feelings come eventually when we act lovingly, but we are commanded to love whether we feel like it or not. Love is discipline (see above quotes). From the little annoyances like someone cutting you off in traffic, patience when waiting in line to life’s bigger problems like grief, feelings of despair, fear. Yet, we are still commanded to love. That doesn’t mean we let people walk all over us. Sometimes people do not respect you or your limitations or boundaries. Do what Jesus did. Walk away. Take it to your Father or a dear friend. Sometimes absence is a much better and loving teacher than all the feelings, words and gestures we can demonstrate.
We can’t love another if we have no clue how much we are loved, especially by our Father. Sometimes we feel secure in our Father’s love. Sometimes we don’t. Many times, we don’t. But if we keep our eyes and heart on how Jesus loved, we start getting a clue. And we practice. God provides unlovable characters at times so we can practice. Sometimes that unlovable character is me!
Thank you that we “vessels of clay” have the honor and privilege to love. Jesus demonstrated his love so many times in scripture from washing dirty, filthy feet to the most shameful and painful death. He did this so we can walk in newness of life and love others.
We thank you for faith, hope and love. Especially love, the greatest of these.