I have to admit, I’ve always found it easier to avoid love. Love is almost always painful. Firstly let me tell you that when I say love I do not mean the cheap notion that books and films often seem to suggest love is. I think we grow up reading about this fairy-tale love which is all about finding the perfect person and living happily ever after. But the Bible tells us love is completely different than that. Love is not just a feeling that we realize when we meet a ‘soul mate’. Love is an active thing, love is a verb. And the bible says love is for our neighbours, but also our enemies.
I guess it never feels good to love someone who hurts you, and even our closest friends hurt us. Choosing love when bitterness and strife are far more of an easy and attractive option can be one of the hardest things. Our sinful nature hates it, it feels so icky and inconvenient. Love can cost us everything, it can cost our money, it can cost our pride. For Jesus to choose love was to choose to pay with his life. God calls us to love, whether it’s the easiest or the hardest option. He calls you to love the girl who is always talking mean about you, the guys you work with, your annoying sibling, your argumentative parents.
From personal experience being in close proximity to anyone for an extended amount of time can be difficult. The two guys I work with I honestly care about a lot and though I know that I am called to love them as my brothers in Christ sometimes I really want to do the opposite. You can really value and love someone and still with just one comment they can suggest you don’t matter at all. In fact the closer you are to someone, often, the harsher the hurt. But God tells us that how we feel, or how people react to us doesn’t matter. He cares about how people treat us, but we shouldn’t. Our response should always be love. Our lives should be a representation of our Lords.
Jesus was spat on, he loved anyway. Jesus was stripped, he loved anyway. Jesus was beaten and whipped, he loved anyway. Jesus was crucified, he loved anyway. Jesus could have commanded legions of angels to take him off the cross, he died anyway. Because of his love Jesus lived a life poured out to the least of the world and then died for all of their sins at the end of it. And he calls us as obedient children, faithful servants, to do the same. Love when it hurts because love isn’t cheap and it isn’t easy.
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7