4 Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant, 5 it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints, 6 it isn’t happy with injustice, but it is happy with the truth. 7 Love puts up with all things, trusts in all things, hopes for all things, endures all things.
Last fall, as election season was peaking, Resurrection members joined in a “Love your neighbor” campaign to express the kind of life to which these verses called God’s people. Maybe that idea sounded “soft” to you, less impactful than campaigns that focus on what’s wrong with different sets of ideas or people. If so, let Bishop Michael Curry (who preached at Resurrection last October) suggest a different perspective. “Someone once said that Jesus began the most revolutionary movement in all of human history; a movement grounded in the unconditional love of God for the world; a movement mandating people to live that love, and in so doing to change not only their lives but the very life of the world itself. I’m talking about power. Real power. Power to change the world.”* You say you want to change the world? Then join in loving your neighbor with Jesus' love!
Lord Jesus, give me clarity about my daily need for your forgiving, empowering grace to nurture and grow me. And grow me into a person who makes forgiving and loving a rhythm of my life. Amen.
* Curry, Bishop Michael. The Power of Love (pp. 9-10). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
I don’t do unconditional love well. I tend to love things because they bring me enjoyment. It is easy for me to love my wife and children. But even this love can be conditional at times, as anyone who has parented teenagers knows. The less personal the relationship, the more I find it difficult for me to love and easier for me to judge.
When my wife was working on her masters degree in educational counseling, a person in one of her classes, prompted by the subject matter of relationships, shared, “I have not found a man I can stay in love with. I have been married three times and it hasn’t worked out yet.”
It dawned on both of us, as we reflected on this woman’s statement, that she was focused on the feeling of love. And more precisely her desire was to receive enjoyment. This is one understanding of love, but not the full breadth of the love Paul speaks about in his letter to the Corinthians.
Love is a choice I can make every day. If I am choosing love, I choose to be patient. I choose not to be jealous, arrogant, rude or irritable. I choose to put up with ALL things. I choose to trust in ALL things. I choose to hope for ALL things. As I said, I don’t do this well all the time. To get back on track I remind myself that this is a choice I want to make, not because it brings me pleasure, but because I have witnessed the power of love to change the world. That’s something I choose to be part of even if I don’t do it well all of the time.
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