I am growing in my knowledge of how I want to be loved, and that is important. It is as important, however, for me to grow in my knowledge of how I love others, recognize the changes I need to make, and do so. In addition, I must accept that this is a life-long process because the love walk is never completed this side of eternity.
Sometimes it is hard to admit that I am loving selfishly. That I want to be judged by my motives and given the benefit of the doubt, but I am not doing the same to others. Thankfully, the Love Checklist has been provided, as are the desire and the enabling to love as I have been loved by the Father (which, by the way, is a commandment, not a suggestion).
The Love Checklist*
Love is …
Love is not …
Love does not …
Demand its own way
Keep a record of being wronged
Rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out
Love never …
Love is always hopeful and endures through every circumstance
Father, thank You that You are at work in me, giving me the desire and the ability to do what pleases You (Philippians 2:13). Thank You that Your love has been poured out in my heart by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). Thank You that You have taught me to love (1 Thessalonians 4:8-10).
Help me be a diligent student who learns what I am taught and consistently put what I have been taught into practice. Constant practice is necessary because, at the end of the day, words of love are worthless in the absence of consistently loving acts.
With Your enabling …
I can be loving when it is absolutely the last thing I want to do.
I can act selflessly when what I really want to do is throw a tantrum that would make a two year old in the throes of a melt-down look like an adult.
I can be kind even when I have every reason to and am quite capable of lashing out and wounding with precision and depth.
I can turn from having an elephant’s memory, able to remember every detail of every wrong, to choosing to forgive and extend the grace that I am constantly in need of and receive in abundance.
I can because of You.
* 1 Corinthians 13:4-8