“4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV)
If I am a dirty, greasy, rusty pan, then Love is scalding water, abrasive soap, and steel wool. I forget all too often that Love is so much more than I will ever be able to understand. Love is hardly ever comfortable. Love holds me accountable to Truth. Love puts me in a position of complete vulnerability, and subsequently, extreme personal risk. Love is anything but passive. Love knows what is best for me, and will not rest until I have it.
I think we have forgotten just how little Love conforms. Love isn’t what you want it to be. Love’s identity is set in stone. It is permanent and unchanging. Yes, it can appear and manifest in infinite ways, but it can never act outside of itself. So, here is our chance to recenter ourselves around what Love actually is.
You cannot say you Love someone while simultaneously refusing to hold them accountable to who you know God created them to be. And let me be clear about accountability. It’s not about calling someone out for what they are doing wrong. It’s about reminding someone of WHO THEY ARE. And you have to have a conversation with someone to learn who they are. You can only Love what you know. And you can only BE Loved as much as you are willing to be known. So here is my point about accountability: if you are going to hold someone accountable you better know them well enough to Love them. And you better Love them well enough to step down into the mud with them and start scrubbing together. If you Love people like that, then I think you should keep reading . . .
Stop avoiding conflict and confrontation because you don’t want to offend someone all in the name of Love. That isn’t Love. That’s called fear. And it’s only ever selfish. Love isn’t a wall to hide behind. Love is a weapon to wield. It strikes down fear. It banishes hate. It eradicates pride. If you don’t think that Love is as dangerous as it is wise, humble, and kind then I think you should revisit what you believe Love is.
Love takes responsibility. It takes ownership and then it takes action. Love doesn’t avoid pain. It doesn’t shy away from sorrow or suffering. Love endures and grows. It heals and it perseveres. It gets up off of the ground and keeps moving. It doesn’t point the finger because it’s afraid of facing the deeper truth. It delights in the opportunity to learn.
Love often tells me that I am wrong. And that is a very uncomfortable process. But I’m so thankful for who Love is. He is never afraid to remind me of who He is, and who I am. And I am infinitely thankful for that. The Holy Spirit convicts. The enemy will try to convince you that everything you think, say, or do, is simply okay.
I’m so sorry for how I have misrepresented you in the past, present, and surely in my future. I repent and refocus on the truth of who you are. On the truth of how you Love. Thank you for reminding me of who You are and who you created me to be. Thank you for the correction. Thank you for the discomfort of the undeniable truth. Thank you for the conviction. Thank you for the spanking. I truly needed it. I love you.