So many thoughts come to mind when we utter that small, simple, four letter word. No word can build up or tear down so perfectly. No word can promise so much, bring so much hope or joy. No word can bring as many tears, either.
But what is love? I've posted about it before; love is a verb; it's an action, a choice. Love is not a feeling by any stretch. Feelings do often come with love, but love does not necessitate feeling.
It's easy to talk about love being a verb when things are going just fine, isn't it? But, then, nothing this side of eternity will ever be perfect. Your life at home might be going quite swimmingly, your friendships blossoming, your relationships with co-workers just dandy, but what about your enemies? See, that's the thing we often forget. Love isn't to be limited to just the people we know. Love is for people like Joseph Kony. Love is for the slaveholders around the world. Love is for sex traffickers. Love is for members of Jihad and Planned Parenthood advocates.
"Love...keeps no record of wrongs."
(1 Corinthians 13:4-5)
That's the hard one for me. Yes, I struggle with being patient and being kind, and all the rest, but the really hard thing is to be kind, to act patient, to seem loving, but in your heart to be tallying up the scores. I often wish that I was like Dory in 'Finding Nemo.' I so wish that as soon as someone wronged me I might be able to forget about it.
I just opened my Bible up to Isaiah 55 and was amazed at what I found.
“Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;7
let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.8
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.9
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts."
See, God is love. While we have petty little things that we'll hold against the people we know for the rest of our lives, God, who has every reason to throw us into hell for all of eternity, "will abundantly pardon."
I'm not sure where I got the idea, but somehow I used to picture God as this big judge in the sky, with His record book, keeping track of all of our mess-ups. But, see, God is love, and love, "keeps no record of wrongs." Isn't that incredible? This is probably an amazingly scrambled post, I'm not sure that I'm making any sense at all right now, but it really just struck me. I have huge records that I keep, both consciously and unconsciously, in my mind against most of the people I know. Most of the time I'm not trying to do this, but then I'll have an argument and everything comes back to me. The times that person wronged me in this way or that way or inconvenienced me in that other way all flood back into my mind and I realize that I am blatantly sinning.
“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies,
do good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you,
pray for those who abuse you."
Jesus wasn't suggesting something here; He wasn't telling us to try to do this. Jesus was commanding us to love our enemies. Loving includes that whole 'no record keeping' bit.
Sometimes I read my Bible, listen to a sermon or read another book and something will pop out at me. "Wow, so-and-so really needs to hear this!" I'll think, smugly. I'm getting better at not doing it, but I'm quite good at shifting the blame away from myself. Today wasn't one of those times, though. Today all that came to mind was what a miserable failure I really am.
I am so very grateful that my good-ness doesn't have anything to do with His grace.
"The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;"
Over and out,