Love is enduringly patient with the quirkiness of others. Love is infinitely kind and generous to everyone it encounters. Love does not envy or resent another person’s gifts or abilities; it does not place oneself on a pedestal as a braggart. Love is not puffed-up like a peacock looking for constant attention and believing that life is all about my-way-or-the-highway. Love is never snarky toward others and does not seek a selfish conniving agenda at all costs.
Love does not fly-off the handle with limited information, and it absolutely never keeps a scorecard of other people’s offenses. Love does not cheer when other people screw-up, but, instead, throws a party when someone embraces gospel truth. Love always looks out for others, always gives the other person the benefit of the doubt, always sees the potential in others, and always believes what God can do in the most stubborn of hearts. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7, My own translation)
Love Is Eternal
Love will forever endure. There is never a time when being un-loving is required or acceptable – that somehow we need to withhold love from someone so that they will get the clue they are doing something we don’t like. In other words, love does not hate people who are different from us. Hate is temporary. Love is permanent and ageless.
As humans, we simply do not have the full picture to everything happening in the world. We don’t see all the angles or have a complete understanding of everything. Because of our limitations, we are to avoid being so quick to evaluate and judge.
Love makes God’s interests in other people our interests. Love is to be our guiding and overarching principle for living. Love is to be our way of life. Love cannot be manufactured or synthesized. That’s because God is love, and God cannot be reproduced into our own image of how we think life ought to operate.
Many people are unloving and unkind in this often cruel and calloused world because they don’t know God loves them. If we don’t believe God loves us, then our words and our actions will reflect more of hate than love. God really truly does love you and me. This is crucial. Do not forget this. Believe it. Live it. Enjoy it. Know it in your heart and deep in your gut. Tell it to yourselves until you are thoroughly bathed in it because it is more wonderful than any 70’s love song could ever describe it.
The Lord your God is with you.
He is like a powerful soldier.
He will save you.
He will show how much he loves you
and how happy he is with you.
He will laugh and be happy about you. (Zephaniah 3:17, ERV)
Christianity does not simply happen by knowing some belief statements about God and Jesus. Christianity happens when people experience the white hot burning love of God in Jesus Christ for them.
Jesus came not only for those who skip church and only occasionally read their Bibles, but also came for the hard-hearted thief, prostitute, adulterer, addict, terrorist, murderer, and for all those caught up in bad choices and failed relationships.
God’s love is never based on our performance, or how good we look to others; it is never conditioned by our moods. The love of God only looks longingly at you and me with the potential of what we can become in Christ, loving us as we are. This is a world-altering revolutionary reality:
God loves me as I am and not as I should be.Mit Tdrahrhe
But Christ died for us while we were still sinners, and by this God showed how much he loves us. (Romans 5:8, ERV)
Despite the decline of institutional religion in the Western world, the vast majority of people still believe God exists. Conversely, however, the majority of people do not believe God truly loves them. We are in a crisis of love. People need to know the God who is Love.
Christianity never begins with what we do for God so as to make ourselves lovely and presentable to the Divine. No! Christianity always starts with what God has done for us, the great and wonderful Love that exists for us in Christ Jesus.
God our Savior showed us
how good and kind he is.
He saved us because
of his mercy,
and not because
of any good things
that we have done.
God washed us by the power
of the Holy Spirit.
He gave us new birth
and a fresh beginning. (Titus 3:4-5, CEV)
All the wrong turns in the past, the mistakes, the moral lapses, everything that is ugly or painful, it all melts in the light of God’s acceptance and love for us. Amen.