I have been thinking about love recently, not romantic love but the love Christians should have one for another.
What does this love look like?
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." I Cor 13 : 4-7 NIV
Something that stood out to me was that Love keeps no record of wrongs, and is not self-seeking. There is no one-upping anybody, no assuming the worst about someone's behavior, no "did-you-see-what-she-was-wearing-??", no "does-he-ever-wash-his-car", no "what-a-control-freak", no "does-she-ever-say-no-??", no "does-he-ever-shut-up", no "she-never-says-anything" . It also struck me how accepting Love is. I think that this has it's roots in Christ. Christ came to free us from the bondage of our sins. And not just from our sins but also from the ties we have to the world. The worry over how such and such will look to the neighbors or the fear that the people at church will think badly about us because of this or that. Christ is only concerned with our relationship to Him. In the place of our cares and silly worries, He offers us an easy yoke and a light burden. Most of all, He offers us Love, unconditional and free flowing. A love that we, as the scum, bottom sucking, sin filled creatures have no right to, expectation of, or way to earn.
Once we experience that Love, we should want to give it to others over and over again because we know that the more we give, the more Christ has to give to us. This unconditional love makes us more accepting of others and where they are at because we know that Christ is at work within us, molding and shaping us to fit His idea of a Christian and our place in the body, and He will do the same with others. It isn't our job to change other people to what we think they should be. That is God's job. All we have to do is Love them, pray for them, encourage them, and be long suffering with them, especially when they have hurt us, as in taking my feelings out and jumping on them. We never fully achieve any of this, only strive for it. Our love is a reflection of His.
And please don't think that I have it perfect. I am still learning how to love. How to love my sister when she gets bitey, how to love by controlling my temper when all I want to do is to break and throw and curse everything in sight, how to love the people I don't like or understand. And I am still trying to figure out how loving people looks for me. My natural inclination is to give everybody a present. That is appropriate at times, but not very often! But I know that all I have to do is wait. God will show me where my gifts lie and how I can best use them for the building of His kingdom.