Monday, January 4, 2016

What Kind of Love?

I was talking to a woman the other day who said we use the word "love" so much that it has kind of lost its meaning. She's right. We do speak as if our favorite pair of socks and a friend, spouse, or child are actually on the same plane. 

In addition to that conversation, all this week I've been thinking about a man I periodically encounter. On his best days, he is able to cordially say hello to me, but more often than not for reasons I'm not too entirely sure about, all he can manage is a sneer and an eye roll. 

Needless to say, his rudeness had been getting on my nerves for most of this past year. 

Then I thought, "What if I'm being taught a lesson here? What if I just choose to forgive him? What if I choose to bless him on his not so great days?" 

I started doing that. The end result is the sneer now just makes me laugh. Why? Because I suspect God is probably laughing about it, too, thinking, "Kids will be kids." We all undergo transformation in different areas and in different times in our lives. Maybe this issue is on God's agenda for my friend, and the time for change just hasn't presented itself yet. 

I've also learned that it's okay when someone isn't where we think they should be. What matters is that God knows where they are, and through their shortcomings we can learn to be patient and forgiving while we wait for others around us to grow--if they ever do. 

And by the way, we can take a more honest look at our own shortcomings while we are dealing with those of someone else. Relationships do bring out our own weaknesses.

So, back to the opening sentence in this post--when I write about love and I'm praying for your children to know it, and I'm asking God to help me walk in it, I'm talking about the love of Jesus Christ which is demonstrated through radical and consistent forgiveness. The ministry of reconciliation. The ability to make peace in the middle of turmoil and putting down the stones when everything in you wants to hurl them at your enemy...

Friends, just because we have misused the "L" word doesn't mean we can abandon its truth. Love your neighbor. Love your enemy the same way if not more (com)passionately. When you do, the world will see Christ in you, and honestly nothing else matters in life more than that. 

Blessings to you all. 


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