Love is most definitely something we could all use more of, from our homes and communities to our nation and the world beyond.
As Christians, we are called to love. Not just those who return our affections, but we’re even called to love those who hate us. After all, aren’t we striving to be more like Jesus?
He is love, embodied.
In John 13:34-35, Jesus says, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
If we truly want to be a light in the darkness and a godly example to this world, we must love.
1 Corinthians 13 stresses how important love is, in verses 4-8, we learn just what it looks like:
“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.”
Thinking about this scripture can be a bit overwhelming.
I have definitely failed to check several of these off the list. And not just with strangers, but with my own family and friends!
If we’re going to effectively love others, I believe we should make sure we’re getting it right at home. If we start intentionally loving our family and friends, we will be able to grow, intentionally loving our church family, our community, and so on.
Tackling the whole passage might cause us to lose hope rather quickly. So for this post, let’s just look at the first two points in verse 4.
Love is patient.
One definition of patient says this, “able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without being annoyed or anxious.”
That’s what that means??
According to this definition, I am not a very patient person!
And the sad thing is that I’m worse as being patient with my own family than I would be with a complete stranger. When my schedule is interrupted or doesn’t go as planned, I get annoyed.
Now, I believe it’s perfectly okay to be a person who likes to stick to their day planner! I love my lists as much as the next organizational enthusiast. But, when my schedule becomes more important than showing love… I have to stop and reevaluate my priorities.
We can all practice intentional love by being more patient.
Patient with our friends, patient with our spouse and children, patient with our church family, patient with other drivers or shoppers, patient with (you fill in the blank) .
Love is kind.
Here’s another definition for you: Kindness is “having or showing a friendly, generous, and considerate nature.”
Okay, this one doesn’t hurt as bad as ‘patient love’ did. Being friendly is pretty easy, right?
It really is easy!
So, I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve not always been friendly to those living under my own roof. And sometimes, I’ve just been too busy to be considerate of others.
In this fast-paced society, we can often speed right through the day without even stopping to take in those around us.
So, let’s practice intentional love by slowing down to be genuinely friendly. Smile and show someone a little kindness.
Give a little more of yourself with a heart of generosity.
Consider others as you go throughout your day, starting with those living in your house and then the many people you come in contact with.
There are so many ways to show love just by being patient and kind. And it’s surprising how many of the following points in verse 4-8 are taken care of as a result!
My challenge to each reader is this: Let’s be intentional about showing this world just what love is.