Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, 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. Love never fails. 1 Cor 13:4-8
In Family Mission Statement and Values, the first Value was Above All Love and Honor God; last month’s Memory Work was taken from the supporting Scriptures from this Value. The next Value on our family chart is Love Others.
Our first two Values coincide with Jesus’ description of the greatest commandment:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets (Matt 22:37-40).
Jesus weaves these two commands together – because we cannot do one without the other.
But, looking at the “Love Chapter”, 1 Corinthians 13, we see many areas where we can stumble. To do all of these is complete love, and isn’t that what we all want?
Yet I know people who are full of envy and pride – they are so hard to love. And I know people who frequently put themselves first, they can be hard to love.
I am hard to love sometimes. I have struggle with keeping a record of wrongs. It goes along with a history of knowing those difficult people, the ones who were hard to love, and not knowing how to deal with their behaviors. They were people who took advantage, who manipulated, who were careless with my heart.
And I had a hard time forgiving those who were supposed to protect me, but didn’t.
Our broken ways of living and loving make it impossible to always trust and hope – and then – love does not persevere.
But God’s way in loving is the opposite of the World’s way. We are commanded to love; this is not optional. A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another (John 13:34-35). And even this: But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matt 5:44).
So here is the shift that helps me when my mind goes back to dark places – our love of other people is not for them, not for us, but for Him. To choose another way is to rebel against Him. Jesus commanded – there is no real wiggle room here. And that may not be the warmest, fuzziest place to go – but it really frees you from the feelings that imprison you.
So my personal feelings aside, here is how this helps me when I deal with my children: I am teaching them that they must forgive and show respect to others out of their love for God and that being unloving to others is a sin against God, first.
I am teaching them that their feelings can be the enemy that drags them down, into sin. So they should compare their feelings to scripture and see if they match up…if not, then they must remember the goodness of God’s love, the authority of God over all aspects of our lives, and the loving sacrifice of Jesus for all of us and then…they must obey Him.
And if their heart still rebels against Him – we go to the Word and read about the Perfect Way and we pray. The Holy Spirit, in concert with the Word, can do miraculous change in our hearts.
Loving difficult people is how God teaches us about His love for us, His difficult people. And loving difficult people is how we practice loving – and learn to love, God’s Way. If we remember that, we can see that they are in our lives for our good. Tell me, are you like me? Do you ever have a hard time loving, God’s Way?
Britta ~ I am justAgirl…just like you!