Love is not easy and takes sacrifice
Several years ago I walked into the gym to workout and wondered if I had enough energy to exercise. As I began exercising, a gentleman walked by wearing a t-shirt that said, “Never give up.” God had spoken those words to me years ago when I was about to tell a client she had exhausted all the grace I had. “That was it; she was dismissed from participating in the program,” I thought.
As I drove to her house and prayed, I felt God’s presence invade my vehicle and God firmly spoke to me and said, “Kathleen, never give up on people because I don’t.” I knew that if i did what I wanted to do, it would be contrary to what God wanted for this woman. I obeyed God and extended mercy and grace, with firm boundaries to this young woman. I treated her with love and respect. I am happy to say that years later she is highly successful and living a godly life. That experience taught me a valuable lesson that I live by today.
The words, “never give up” on the man’s shirt reminded me of how God never gives up on us. He never stops loving us or believing the best about us. That simple t-shirt reminded me of the scripture in I Corinthians 13:8 which says, “Love never fails.” (NIV) It reminded me of how God loves us so much he gave his only son, Jesus, for us. God let go of what was dear to him so we could enjoy life abundantly no matter what. The beauty of the Easter story is that Jesus never gave up on God. Jesus’s love for his father never wavered, even as he hung dying. I am sure he didn’t understand because how on earth could a good father allow such a thing? Loving isn’t always easy but it never fails.
I Corinthians 13 is known as the love chapter in the Bible and talks all about real genuine love for others and how we are to love. I won’t quote the passage but if I were a Bible translator, which I am not, I would translate it like this:
“If I am a wonderful eloquent speaker but do not speak with kindness and a heart of love, I miss the drum beat and the all my notes are sharp and flat.
If I am smart, educated, and can see into the future; and if I believe in God so much I can move Mt. Everest, but do not daily love others well, I might as well go back to bed and forget the day.
If I am generous and good at giving to the poor, if I sacrifice my body for others but don’t do it with the right motive, I have wasted my time and money.
Real love never gets in a hurry, it waits and doesn’t push others. Selfless love is gentle and looks for what it can give; mature love makes others feel more important than oneself. it makes others feel valuable,important and wanted and does not have a high opinion of oneself. A person walking in love, walks in humility.
Loving like Jesus is not sarcastic or and does not put others down; it always looks for the best in others and sees what is good about them, getting angry is the exception, not the rule. Love does not keep remembering when others hurt them. It makes a conscious effort to put the hurt and bad memories behind them.
Love does not go around telling of others failures, it covers their failures. Love tells the truth.
Love does not ever quit. it believes and looks for the best in others, love always has hope for others and restoration. and endures the roughest seas and the hottest deserts to make the relationship a good one.
Loving will help you win the race every time. You can loose your ability to do your talent, you can forget the things you studied for years,
We can all learn, none of us know everything. We need each other.
When I was young, I could get by with being immature, unforgiving and mad at others but it is time to grow up.
At the end of the day, three things hang around, faith, hope and love. But you will be a winner in the eyes of God when you walk in love; love is all that matters.”
Real love takes sacrifice, it isn’t easy, but it is worth it. I challenge you to read I Corinthians 13 daily for a few weeks and let the words wash over you and speak to you. Ask God what he wants to speak to your heart about His love for you and how you are to love those around you.
God and Jesus both demonstrated their love for us in the Easter story. Love, forgiveness and overcoming are the basic message in Christ’s death and resurrection. Before his death, Jesus was asked a question in Matthew 22:36-39,”Teacher, what is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment and the second is like it; Love your neighbor as yourself.”
All of us will die one day. What will really matter to God and others, is how we loved. Do you love God with all your heart? Do you love others well or do you need to keep practicing? Do you daily tell God you love him and daily tell others you love them with your actions and words? Pride is often what keeps us from telling others and God we love them.
I challenge you to open your heart to more of God’s love for you and daily tell God you love Him. He wants to hear those words from you. Join me in daily telling those around you that you love them. They need to hear it. We all do. And never give up on loving others because God never gives up on you.