Love, love, love. Love is all you need. Love will keep us together. Love everyone, man.
I hate the word love. No one knows what it means when someone else says it, because everyone has their own idea of what it should look like. It should look like the movies. It should look like giving everyone a gold star for every word out of their mouth and every choice they make. It should look like 100% agreement at all times.
Our nation has turned a corner. One that will be mentioned in history books. There is much celebrating. There is much mourning. And no one wasted any time jumping into the argument of how Christians SHOULD be responding/behaving/believing about it all.
I struggle with love. What does love look like? What on earth am I supposed to do to show that I love? How can I prove that I love them when I say I do, but they say I don't? Or when YOU say I don't because I haven't followed the exact steps you so carefully articulated in your Facebook post?
I live with a Biblical worldview. Everything I do, everything I believe comes through the lens of what the Bible says. Sometimes the Bible is murkier than others, and clarity is harder to come by. But when it comes to love, I have to follow the Bible. Not conventional wisdom. Not popular, enlightened, modern ideas. Just the Bible, as revealed by the Holy Spirit.
Love is patient. Love is willing to bear the burden of hardship, pain, delay, annoyance with a calm demeanor, and without complaint or anger.
Love is kind. Love shows benevolence. Love actually does and says things for the good of others, and is helpful.
Love is NOT jealous...and does not harbor anger at someone else's success or indulge in suspicion or fear
...or boastful...acting triumphant at its own success or relishing in a victory at the expense of others
...or proud...feeling pleasure over something that can be credited to it alone
...or rude. Love does not act impolite or harsh with someone, even when that someone says or does something that offends or is wrong.
It does not demand its own way. It does not demand to be heard or become upset if it is not being listened to. It does not demand that anyone acknowledge its opinion as valid or correct.
It is not irritable...or easily annoyed
...and it keeps no record of being wronged. It literally does not remember the last time it was offended, and definitely doesn't bring it up when confronted about something else.
It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Regardless of its opinion, it knows when an injustice occurs and it does not celebrate that fact. It celebrates truth and only truth.
Love never gives up...even when a devastating blow occurs
...never loses faith...even when its allies seem to be turning away
...is always hopeful...always choosing to look beyond the circumstance to the promise given
...and endures through every circumstance. Love bears without resistance every event, fact and detail.
Love never fails. It doesn't end. No matter what.
That's love. Not kissing someone else. Not berating your fellow man into a belief you hold. Not shaming someone else for a belief they hold.
In fact, love is not a response at all. True love is proactive and rather than respond, love simply acts. Regardless of what is happening around it, Love will always act that way.
Lord, help me act that way.
All words in bold are taken directly from the New Living Translation of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.