Two weeks ago I wrote about learning to love yourself. I am very passionate about women, especially, loving who God created them to be. I could talk about it all the time. But I don’t want us to forget the importance of loving one another.
We all desire to be treated with respect and to be loved despite our flaws. I believe God specifically put this desire in us. So if this is something everyone desires and everyone is aware of, why is it so hard to live out?
I could give you a very lengthy explanation of my personal beliefs and opinions, but I am going to try and keep it simple. I feel like we need to start from the beginning.
In order to love someone and love them well, even your enemies, you need to know what the word “love” means.
Now I know what you are thinking: “Sydney, seriously, we all know what the word love means, it’s the greatest feeling on earth.” You wouldn’t be wrong to define love as a great feeling; it is. Google actually defines it as, “an intense feeling of deep affection.” Also, not wrong.
These definitions are fine, but my favorite definition of love comes from 1 Corinthians 13. You probably know this verse, but I am hoping to make it a bit more applicable for you. This verse is my favorite because I truly believe love is more than a deep feeling. I believe that love is a choice backed up by a series of actions and reactions. This verse is the foundation of my beliefs.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 says, “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.”
Ahhh, this verse is music to my ears. It is everything I desire love to be.
Just because I desire to love others, according to this verse, does not mean I do not fail miserably at it sometimes. To love your enemies is hard, and to love your friends or family when they are not making great choices, is hard.
So what do we do? How do we love one another better? I will tell you what I do when I find it difficult to love someone. Maybe it’ll work for you too.
First, I read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. I read it a few times to let it sink in and to be reminded of what God defines as love.
Second, I write the verse down. BUT, instead of using the word “love” or “it”, I replace those words with my own name. For example, “Sydney is patient, Sydney is kind, Sydney does not envy,” so on and so forth. Typically I write the verse out in bullet points and create a check list of sorts.
Lastly, I take a long hard look at my new “verse” and see how I measure up. This is one of my favorite ways to self reflect on any situation. You can analyze how you are behaving towards someone.
Don’t be discouraged if you come to realize you are not being very loving in a situation. Nobody is perfect. It takes a great deal of effort to love. Asses yourself and think of ways you can change your actions towards the person you are struggling to show love. Don’t give up and keep trying.
“Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:11
Has there ever been a time where you found it difficult to love someone? Tell me about it in the comments below!