It’s been a little difficult to love some people lately. Conflict has pursued me in a major way this year and the prolonged exposure is causing me to grow weary. We all get there: sometimes it’s easier to pull away or put up walls so we don’t have to deal with it. I can’t imagine the frustration I put God through when I mess up or fall short. I know the Lord is trying to get through to me, teach me something, or remind me about LOVE.
“LOVE the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence. This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: LOVE others as well as you LOVE yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39).
There’s a verse we hear all the time; we can probably even quote it, at least a version of it. Yeah, yeah, that’s one of those Christian things we’re supposed to do, everybody knows that. But most of us most of the time totally miss the depth of LOVE that is being talked about here.
Agape is not the type shared between comrades nor is it the gushy romantic kind. It is sacrificial in nature, the very kind that compelled Jesus to go to the Cross. It is His character to LOVE in this manner: to LOVE the unLOVEly, the undeserving, the ungrateful, the unmerciful, the unkind…
Look at the manner of LOVE mentioned by Paul:
“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” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
This is what it breaks down to:
- Unconditional LOVE means no matter what. No prerequisites, not provisional, and not pending. No checklist of conditions or requirements to fulfill.
- Unyielding LOVE will never stop or hold back. It’s gratuitous, lavish, extravagant, outrageous, abundant, liberal, overflowing…
- Unhesitant LOVE doesn’t wait and doesn’t think about it. It is courageous, bold, resolute, intentional, unwavering, determined, perseverant, unshakable, undaunted, relentless…
- Unending LOVE is forever, immeasurable, eternal, everlasting, uninterrupted, complete, ceaseless…
I would say a few more words from a human perspective: unknown, impossible, unreasonable, illogical, and inaccessible. I’m not God. I can’t LOVE the way He does nor should I be expected to. Right?
- God has known the person for eons. Creator…duhh. He has a little more at stake in the situation than I do. But that’s His deal.
- God knows the person’s heart. He know their motives, hesitations, and what they’re really longing for behind the thick skin, lousy attitude, and enigmatic behavior.
- God knows the person’s past. I have no idea the battles this person has been through. The wounds, the scars, the lingering pain, and even the agony.
- God knows the person’s future. He sees what’s in store for the person, what could be, His own plan for them.
- God knows the person’s struggles: insecurities, inadequacies, and inner turmoil.
- God’s heart aches for the person more than the pain He experienced on the Cross. Contrary to popular belief, He doesn’t take delight when we’re going through the valley. He cries with us, feels what we feel, and can relate in every way to us.
The LOVE that was shown to us (Romans 5:8) is the same LOVE that we’re to extend to God Himself, AND to each other. ONLY with His help and our surrender will this ever be possible. I’ve still got a long way to go. #HELP
God, would you please get Your LOVE in my heart so that I can LOVE others the way You LOVE them.
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one…wrap it carefully…lock it up safe in the casket of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” -C.S. Lewis