LOVE love love love…all ya need is love… come on- sing it with me!
While reading John chapter 4, I can’t help but think that – LOVE – real love, true love- is not always rainbows and sunshine.
Sometimes love is hard truth given as gently as possible.
Sometimes love is the willingness to bear the brunt of another’s hurt and clean up a mess you didn’t make.
Sometimes love is well set boundaries and sometimes it’s looking another in the eye and laying it all out for them right at the bottom line.
Sometimes love is refusing to allow someone to treat you in a way that is not acceptable because they need to learn that it’s not okay and no one else has ever loved them enough to have the courage to stand up to them before.
And then there are the things that love is always…
In bold is how 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (MSG) lays it out for us well:
Love never gives up.
Not even on people that make your eyeballs itch
Love cares more for others than for self.
Even when they care more about themselves than about you
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Even when it seems completely unfair and illogical that someone else would have it
Love doesn’t strut,
Because we know that anything we have of value is only due to God’s grace and favor
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Because it’s not about us but about Him in us
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Because God is a gentleman and we should strive to be like Him
Isn’t always “me first,”
Because we are to think of others before ourselves
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Because we are to treat others the way we would like to be treated
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Because in the same measure that we have received forgiveness…so should we give
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Because we should hold the heart of God toward them
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Even when it’s hard, life changing and unrelenting
Puts up with anything,
Because God puts up with us
Trusts God always,
Even when we don’t understand, because no one is more trustworthy
Always looks for the best,
Because God valued each of us enough to die for us
Never looks back,
Because it doesn’t ever help you get where you want to go
But keeps going to the end.
No matter how much time or energy it takes
It seems to me, in the body of Christ, we have come to often confuse real love for false in your face kindness. The truth is however, that real love can be hard, unpleasant and uncomfortable and most people just don’t want to get their hands dirty. It’s easier not to.
For most of us, our own lives can be so consuming, so distracting, so very FULL within themselves that to take the time, energy and perseverance necessary to really love our brothers and sisters in Christ often requires more than we feel we have or want to give.
And yet, we are told in John 13:35 that the world is suppose to be able to recognize that we are Disciples of Christ by our love for one another.
In the absence of love, offense, un-forgiveness and strife are able to rear their ugly heads and take control of situations, circumstances and relationships.
John reminds us “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” (1 John 4:16)
Father, help me to love as you love.