Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. I Corinthians 13:4-7,13
Love never fails. Do you believe this? I don’t think I ever really believed this statement to be true until recently. Weird, huh?
Love means taking risks. It means opening up your heart and allowing people into the deepest part of your soul. And those people are just like you – flawed – which means they’ll probably disappoint you in some way, not live up to your expectations, fail you.
Love means hoping that you have enough of it to give away and get enough back that makes the risk worthwhile. But what if you and the people around you don’t have enough to give?
Too many times we get hurt because we don’t understand true love. So we put up walls so we never get hurt again. And then we’re stuck inside brick and mortar thinking that we’re safer this way. But we’re losing out on so much.
Love means having faith in a God who showed us perfect love. God is patient with us in spite of our many flaws. He isn’t too proud to bend low enough for us to hear His whispers of affection. He doesn’t demand His own way. Look at Jesus; He went to the cross for us knowing full well the suffering He would endure because of us. That is love.
God keeps no record of our wrongs. In fact He forgives and forgets our sins. God rejoices in the truth: The truth that Jesus is the way to eternal life; the truth that we are righteous in His eyes because of Jesus; the truth that we are designed in His image and He thinks we are beautiful.
God never gives up on us, never loses faith in us, is always hopeful that we’ll seek Him first. God endures with us through everything.
Yes, I want to be loved like that…by God and everyone else. But mostly I want to love like that. I want to be kind and patient and forgiving and hopeful and always seeking the truth. But I have discovered that until I love myself this way I cannot truly love others.
So it begins with me. I have learned to be patient and kind to myself, by giving myself a break and shutting off the reel-to-reel tape that plays back all my wrongs. I have learned the truth – that I am so fiercely loved by God that He dances over me, delights in me, thinks I am extraordinary. On the days I feel less than ordinary, I remind myself how God sees me and the pep in my step returns.
I’m learning to always be hopeful and have faith that nothing that comes my way is greater than the powerful God who loves me. And resting in this allows me to be more loving. Do I get it right every time? No way, but I’m hopeful that tomorrow I’ll be more loving than I was today.
The greatest of these is love…I get it now.