I had a long conversation with an old friend today. We talked a bit about love.
I remembered this scripture out of I Corinthians 13: 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.
Each of us experienced recent events where we had to choose to act in love. Our culture makes love out to be, well, squishy. It’s portrayed as romantic, two lovers running hand and hand through a backlit field spangled with wildflowers. It’s a couple snuggling beneath a full moon next to the ocean’s luminous shore. Or, it’s parental. Mothers staying up all night with cranky babies. Fathers cheerfully working 2 jobs to support a family.
What if the love needed doesn’t fall into those popular, Hallmark heart-swelling categories? What if it’s more like “keep quiet or you’ll start WW III in the backseat”? You know in your heart if you say anything, it will be misconstrued. You choose to keep your thoughts to yourself because you realize you can’t fix what’s broken. Love is patient and kind. Love does not demand its own way. It costs something to be patient and kind. It costs to be quiet when everything in you screams to be heard, to do it your way.
What if it’s more important to restore relationship than to be right? The other party is wrong. Their attitude and actions, not to mention words, cut you deeply. You have two choices: cut them out of your life like so much rotten fruit or make peace. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. The truth is that in God’s economy, renewed fellowship must win out except in the most dire circumstances. This means our pride takes a hike, possibly forever.
What if we have certain primary relationships whose dynamic never seems to change, despite our best efforts of prayer and words of encouragement? Some people close to us may never get us nor love us in ways we can receive. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
This love thing, it’s risky business. It’s not squishy or soft at all. We could get hurt turning the other cheek, and often we do. But God is love. He’s a firm foundation, a shelter in the time of storm. Do we believe the best about others? Do we show it by our actions? Loving is the Father’s primary business.