Love. I thought I knew what it was until God began giving me opportunities to dig deeper on this one in study and in practice. Love is something that can be so simple and yet so complex at the same time.
The quote above from Billy Graham resonates deeply with my Spirit. It has become the heart of me.
As I daily interact with the population at large and watch the world around me…love. Simply love. It is my job to simply love. And that’s what I seek to do. Sometimes I do it well and sometimes I don’t, but it is truly at the heart of what my aim is each day. I want people to see Jesus and He get the glory because I choose love over my human instinct.
But you know what? There’s a place beyond the world out there that I need to practice love. It is in my own home. Right about the time that I started to think, “I’ve got this love thing down,” that’s when the hard part of love kicked in. Or shall I say kicked me in the butt? Love got painfully hard when I realized that simply loving needed to happen in my own home before it would ever make a difference outside of my home.
Being a word nerd, I thought that it might be a good idea to look up and study exactly what this love word even means (or maybe it was my way of avoiding discovering something that might make me uncomfortable). I went to the dictionary for the bones, but I went to God’s word for the meat. I read through the 1 Corinthians 13 passage and thought I’d find myself glossing over the words because I’d heard it a million times, but instead it made me stop in my tracks.
First verse…Love is patient and kind. <insert butt kick here>
I couldn’t even get past the first verse. Was I being patient and kind in my own home? Uhhh…do I have to answer this?
I stumbled through the rest of the verses.
Love is not irritable or resentful. <kick>
Oh man, I thought I had this love thing down. I don’t. God calls me to simply love. That’s my job here on this earth and yet I struggle to get it right in my primary ministry. I’ve got some work to do–daily–no minute by minute.
It is out of this struggle to love right where I am that this prayer was written for my children.
May <insert child’s name here> learn what love is through me. I want her to learn that love is patient and kind because I reflect that. I want her to see in my words and actions that love does not envy or boast; is not arrogant or rude. May she see that it does not insist on its own way and it certainly is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong doing, but rejoices with the truth. I want her to experience, through my example, that love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things even when they are not easy. I want her heart to understand that because of You in me, love never fails, ends or gives up. Most importantly may she know that I will always love her just because she breathes.
I Corinthians 13:4-7b
May our children daily see Jesus and experience what love truly is from us and in turn be able to simply love those around them. Our world needs it and it starts with us.