“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. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
Love. The ultimate eraser. The gigantic slate cleaner. The one thing that saves us from hell and gets us to heaven. Christ’s love. The ultimate leveler of the playing field.
I want to love others like He loves me. With no record of wrongs. No silent hit list in my mind delegating who is worthy of my affections. But it can be difficult. Loving without boundaries. Not that we live without life boundaries, that is different, but we can love without boundaries.
Sometimes life boundaries call us to distance ourselves for a season, or even to step away from a relationship all together. And this is good and right. However, love must choose to remain. Even if that love that looks like absence. Love is still present if we choose to step away without hurting others or holding anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness inside of ourselves. Sometimes loving someone means stepping away.
Sometimes love means staying even when we don’t want to. Sometimes love means turning the other cheek. Sometimes the choices we make are to love in spite of our circumstances. Like when my husband and I were going through a very dark season. I didn’t feel love towards Him. I had a list a mile long of all the wrongs he had hurled my way, all the while ignoring my own wrongs. It was difficult to love during this season. I wanted to return hit for hit, but God called me to do the opposite. To control what I could. And what I could control were my actions and my heart. I could choose to love him with no record of wrongs. And so I did, as did my husband, and over time God healed our marriage.
At times I place people on the unlovable list because they have hurt me. It’s kind of like giving the cold shoulder. Rather than confronting the issue in a loving way, talking things out, and moving forward – the mean jeans – the ignoring – the dirty looks – the snide remarks – those thing sneak out. And this is not love. Even with our enemies, we are called to love.
Today I challenge you to love everyone you come in contact with – even the ones on your love barren hit list. Love them anyways. Love them in a way that puts and keeps appropriate life and relationship boundaries in place. But love them like Jesus loves them, boundlessly and endlessly. Find the middle ground with your enemies. You probably have more in common with them than you might think. Try and empathize with them. Scoot pride out of the way, and let 1 Corinthians 13 rule in your heart and mind. Stop the clanging gong of pride, envy, jealousy, and anger from banging around and replace it with the pure true resounding song of love.