When faced with adversity, how differently do you suppose the outcome would be if we stopped to ask ourselves, “is what I’m about to say coming from a place of love or condemnation?”
Oftentimes we don’t take the time to think before we speak. We are so consumed by believing that we are right and they are wrong that we spat out our message with little to no regard to how it’s going to be received. What is the point of speaking your mind if it falls on deaf ears? What good does it do ramble on and on if the person you are trying to reach has built a wall between you and them so as to protect themselves from your unfiltered message?
Everyone has heard that the Bible stresses the importance of loving your neighbor as yourself. How loving are you being when you’ve become so closed minded that you refuse to hear the other person’s feelings? Just as you feel justified in your opinions, so does the one on the other side of the disagreement. Why are you entitled to share your stance while you cut them off at the knees when they take theirs?
Love, people. It’s an action word. Loving others is the only thing that keeps people from diverse backgrounds living in harmony when society tells them that their differences should drive them apart. Love puts the focus on the person and nothing more.
I remember when I was a bratty teenager my mom looked at me one day and said, “Valerie, I love you but right now I don’t like you very much.” I learned a very valuable lesson from that statement. Just because I love you doesn’t mean that I have to approve of or like everything you do and say. Love, real love, should be free from contingencies. My love for people is not based on what they do for me in order to deserve my affection. It is based solely on my desire to extend the same grace that I receive on a daily basis, even in spite of my shortcomings that would dictate just how unlovable I am.
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.
(1 Corinthians 13:1-7 The Message)