1 Corinthians 13:4-7 says “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
It’s impossible to match the great love God overflows upon us. Everyday is a challenge.
I recently received the book Love Does by Bob Goff. For you all who don’t know what it is, go buy it. And absorb all of the greatness in between the two covers. I’ll wait.
Okay, now that you’ve caught up, this book has definitely changed my perspective. Not only have I been provided with some guidelines on how to love people around me, but have also realized how great God’s love is for all of us. It’s hard to love people. Especially when personalities clash, past issues still apply, when they have no respect for you, et cetera. But yet, we should love those people the most, because in most cases, those people are the ones who need God’s love the most. And they are in our lives for a reason, so why not be intentional about love?
In Luke 15:11-32, Jesus tells the parable of the prodigal son. Basically, a man has two sons. One of them decided to take his share of the estate and run off. He quickly squandered all his money and ended up living a poor, unsanitary lifestyle. Meanwhile, the father waits every day for his son to come home, despite the pain he’s caused him through rejection. And, when the son finally comes home, the father accepts him with open arms, and he even throws him a party.
This should serve as a model to us. It also resembles God’s great love for us, despite the amount of times we sin. Mercy is a part of love. As humans, we will disappoint others. We will mess up, say the wrong thing, et cetera A LOT. We sometimes put our role models on such high pedestals, when really, they belong on the same level as us. People are people, and people are going to mess up. It’s a fact of life. God’s love is unfathomable. It’s so hard to imagine sometimes the extent of His love and mercy. In the same way, we should reflect that. When people disappoint us, when people unintentionally or even intentionally hurt us, when we become frustrated. What if we all did that? How absolutely amazing would it be? One of the main points in Love Does is about following through, as in doing, not just saying. We can so easily claim to love Him and follow His commands, but do we reflect Him in our actions?
In order to give you one of the most relevant, beautiful examples of relentlessness love – lemme tell you what I’m doing this week. I’m puppy-sitting. Or rather, dog sitting. The little ball of fluff is a teacup poodle, three pounds, and has the energy of a four-year-old on Christmas morning, especially when you play fetch with her. This bundle of sweetness isn’t even my dog, yet when I come home, I’m surrounded with kisses, quality time, and sometimes even some liquid due to excitement. She’s so accepting to everyone. When playing ball, she shares it around and makes and effort to spend time with everyone in my family, every second of her life. This dog is devoted to love. She’ll snuggle with you when you’re having a bad day, run a block with you, and genuinely tries to spend every second of every day with you. She forgets everything that you’ve accidentally done to her [ie. accidentally throwing the ball at her leg – nothing serious] and continues to give you kisses and spend quality time with you. What an excellent example of unconditional love. There are days when I am amazed at her capacity to love others.
Going off of that, quality time is a FANTASTIC way that we can show love to others. Simple presence is powerful. Sometimes, or rather most of the time, our actions speak louder than our words. Saying you’re there for someone is completely different from being there for someone. Quality time also allows us to learn more about one another, and from there, build a lasting relationship. This summer especially, I have realized the powerful impact of quality time. One night, I was sitting outside on a flimsy bench on a crisp summer night, huddled next to a stranger in blankets, staring at the stars, crying, laughing, and exchanging testimonies with another co-worker. Not only did that night allow us to start having inside jokes and realize common loves, but she has shown me love, empathy, and become such an influential person in my life. Of course, people have different love languages [ physical touch, acts of service, receiving gifts, words of affirmation, and quality time. ]. Learn others’ “language” and make an effort to show them love, even if it involves going out of your comfort zone. Follow through, don’t just think good thoughts. Do. Change. Inspire. Forgive. LOVE.
How would we inspire and impact others’ lives if we were to follow God’s example of everlasting love? How would our perspective change?