I have been thinking about love. How the world loves, how we love, how God loves, how we love our family our friends. It’s easy to look at someone else and see how they do not love the way we think they should. To point out either in our hearts or out loud to someone how they fail. But have we ever stopped and truly examined ourselves? I am quick to anger when someone judges me or my family, to hold a grudge. But is this love? The bible tells me that this is not love. Jesus showed us that this is not love. This does not mean that the person that judges isn’t wrong, but we need to be more focused on ourselves. After all we can’t change the other person, only God can do that. So I choose to pray instead of holding a grudge. God will do the healing of the heart, God will do the prompting. That is if we allow it.
I like the story in the bible about the adulterer that was going to be stoned. Jesus stepped in and said to everyone, if you have no sin in your lives then throw the first stone. Of course no one threw a stone. In our flesh we all fail. How am I to judge someone else? I think it fitting to let God do the judging, after all he is perfect. He loves correctly. He reads the heart.
Since birth others have taught me to love. They told me how much they loved me but would call me names, abandon me, hit me, judge me, show no compassion or mercy and so forth. Since this is my experience with love, this is how I loved. But God tells us this is not love. He tells us that love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, it is not rude, 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, love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always preserves. Love never fails.
This is not the love I gave or experienced. I have a choice to fix it, I choose to fix it. I have to tell myself, just because I am going to fix something about myself, I can’t expect everyone else to fix themselves. I am simply doing it because God asks it of me.
In order to understand what God teaches on love, I had to look at a few scriptures. I had to look at my experience of God’s love for me. The bible tells us that Jesus is the Shepard and we are the flock. That the Shepard will never leave us, he will never abandon us, and no matter how wrong we are, he is still there loving us and reaching out to us. God shows his love by guiding us, caring for us. He transforms, renews, and strengthens. He fills with hope, joy and peace. He comforts, he forgives and he gives salvation. He is gentle and definitely patient. God honors, he protects and he will answer when I call on him. God corrects. This is what love is.
This is how I should be striving to love. Not the way I was taught, not the way someone else loves me and definitely not the way the world loves. This includes loving myself correctly too. I’ve asked myself, self how can I love like God? I cannot transform or renew someone. This can be done in many ways. Not the same way as God can but you or I can do it by simply using a kind word, uplifting someone, encouraging someone, or a kind gesture.
The greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, mind and soul. The second Greatest is to love your neighbor as you love yourself. I asked myself why Gods greatest commandments are about love. I believe it’s because love breaks down walls, it softens hearts, and love is contagious. We are called to love. We MUST love ALL. God’s grace found me and you as we are. God’s grace meets us where we are.
For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him will not parish but have everlasting life.