Character · Jesus

Love in Earnest

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Sheesh, its noisy right now. There’s a whole lot of people talking about a whole lot of things, right?  And the word love is being tossed around like the cure for everything.

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

This verse has been stuck in my craw all summer. It’s a deceptively easy instruction. Like telling someone standing on the shore of a lake to just jump in the water and swim out to the island in the distance.

I long for the destination but all the effort required in the water is what I struggle with. I want to love with an earnestness that covers a multitude of sins, but why does the way from point A to B have to be filled with annoyances, differences of opinion, irritations, pain and hurt feelings. To me its all the realities of what I meet on the way that makes loving people so stinking hard. And paraphrased it goes like this…

Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything.

I know this is to be the story of our lives. I get it. But I am asking myself, in more than a few current situations, HOW? What specific things do I need to do to travel the distance toward the kind of love that makes up for practically anything? The amazing thing about asking God questions of his instructions for us, is that he will often merely point his finger to a different page in the manual.

1. Love each other as if your life depended on it. (see Romans 12 for details)

I need constant refreshing in the specifics. No wonder this page looks like a highlighter exploded on it. Its given me practical answers, reminding me of the truth. That love is straight up hard work. It is not glamorous. It requires endurance and patience and practice. Thankfully, God hasn’t invited us to love without direction and his presence to coach us along.

In a time of so many fuzzy words and hard conversations, today I’m referring back to the manual as I try to love like my life depended on it.

This dog-eared page says love is standing for truth without being an obnoxious jerk.  Love is prayer, turned cheeks and hospitality. It’s feeding enemies, weeping and laughing as you go. It’s striving to understand truth without pretending you know it all.  It’s rejoicing and generous and humble.  It’s recognizing who is pulling all the strings behind the evil in this world, and not confusing that with the flesh and blood person in front of you. It is offering peace and honoring others in the process.

I think its OK that the swim from my selfish heart to a story of love is mostly filled with rough seas and poor form. Because I’m convinced that the command to love others will forever be the hardest thing we are ever asked to do. It’s the way of sanctification. We all need the gift of being called to something that requires more than we have to offer. It’s the way of a good story and His grace and presence within each one of these instructions will be the only way we are able to love like he intended.

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. 

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.

Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 

Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!

Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God.

If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. 

Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

3 thoughts on “Love in Earnest

  1. Thank you so much for this post. This is something I am struggling with right now. Whether it’s love for people close to me, or for groups that I disagree with. This gives me some guidance to focus my attention.

  2. good stuff. it’s a refreshing reminder to “just love” with all the babbling going on around us all.

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