On the way home from work tonight, I heard the DJs talking about Jesus’s command to love. They were saying that the thing Jesus commanded us to do was to love…Love God with all your heart, and soul, and mind, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself. The question that came up was a good one. How do you love like that? One of them asked what love is defined as in the Bible. He pointed to 1 Corinthians 13, the “Love” chapter. Here it is in The Message:
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
There’s more to the chapter than that, but it gives us a starting place. I liked where their conversation was going. They were talking about how you need to show people patience, even the ones who get on our very last nerves. They were talking about not keeping score on people like the in-laws (and though I’ve always had great in-laws, I understand that others don’t always.) If we are truly practicing what this chapter says, and if, as 1 John 4 says that love comes from God and if we’re not loving, then we don’t love God, then we’ve got a lot of work to do to get our hearts aligned properly with God’s.
Saying you love and actually loving are two separate things, and putting it into practice is much harder than it would seem. We can only do it if we have God’s help.
DAY 361 HOMEWORK: Let’s spend a little time thinking about the most irritating people we know and how we can show them love and patience. Recognizing our lack of love is the first step, and then acting in love will be the next, courageous step we can take.