How Merciful the Love

Tonight, I was struck by how MUCH God loves us.  Truly, it’s amazing.  His love is so pure and free.  He loves us freely, gracefully, unconditionally, mercifully.  Think you’re a failure? Don’t worry, God loves you.  Think you’re unworthy?  Well, we all are, but God still loves us.  Think your sin is too great? God loves you enough that He sent his son to die for you in your sin, even though He already knew the sin you would commit.  God’s love is great and it covers a multitude of sin, failures, shame, depression, guilt and every trial to ever come your way.

But, I digress.  Tonight I was struck, not just by how much God loves us, but that in being a Christian, or Christ-like, we are supposed to love others in the same way.  We are supposed to love unconditionally, no matter what wrong has been done.  No. Matter. What.  1 Corinthians 13 has always been one of my favorite scriptures, and I know we have all read it hundreds of times, but tonight I challenge you to really read it.  Soak in the words.  Meditate on their meanings.  Put them into practice- in your family, in your jobs/schools, in your day-to-day life, in passing a stranger on the street.  Show God’s love, no matter what.  (and know that I am preaching to myself more than anyone else!)

Love is patient.  With that Doctor that makes you wait 2 hours.  With that car that wants to drive 30 mph in the fast line in front of you.  With that place you want to be in your life, that seems like it’s taking everything you have and all the time you have.  Patience.

Love is kind.  With that person that is rude to you.  With that person that drives you crazy.  With that person that wronged you.  With that stranger who needs just a smile to be encouraged to keep fighting the good fight.  Kindness.

Love does not envy.  With that family that seems to have it all.  With that person that just seems to always get what they want.  With that person that doesn’t have to work hard to be beautiful or successful or happy.  Do not envy means being happy for them and being satisfied with what you have.  Contentedness.

Love does not boast.  When your family is the one that has it all.  When you always get what you need and want.  When you buy that dream house or car.  Even when you work so hard to achieve great things.  Meekness and thankfulness.

Love is not proud.  Love has no ego.  Love is not arrogant.  Love means we are not stuck up because we know that we unworthy.  That the first will become last.  That we are all servants.  Humility.

Love is not rude.  Love means we are gentle and caring with others.  We look to minister to the needs of others.  Love erases frustration and rudeness and replaces it with kindness and patience.  Compassion.

Love is not self-seeking.  Love means you put the needs of others before your own.  Love means selfless acts.  Love means doing good for others without looking for something in return.  Love means being a servant of others.  Love means looking out for one another and lifting each other up.  Selflessness and thoughtfulness.

Love is not easily-angered.  When that loved one does that thing that you told them not to do.  I found a great devotional on the Love Chapter that says “Love…cannot be held back by disappointment. The power of love is unstoppable and does not know of any hindrances to it.”  How many times have we been held back in our love because of anger or unforgiveness?  Joy and peacefulness.

Love keeps no record of wrongs.  With that person that offended you.  With that person that mistreated your family member.  With that person that just simply made a mistake.  Love does not remember all past sins and bring them up in every new fight.  Forgive and forget.

Love does not delight in evil.  Love is shining God’s light.  Where there is darkness, there is no light, therefore love cannot coexist with evil.  The light of love overtakes the darkness of evil.  Love delights in doing good, in doing the Will of the Father.  Righteousness.

Love rejoices with the truth.  Love does not spread lies and gossip.  Love seeks the truth in every situation.  The truth brings us closer to God and reveals the love He has for us.  Even when the truth hurts, love is honest, sincere and trustworthy.  Truthfulness.

This whole description of love is summed up in verses 7-8.  "Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveresLove never fails."  Love like Jesus.  Shine His light in a darkworld.  Show this love to others, whether they deserve it or not, and you will be worthy to receive the same love in return.

Every word I read describing true love in Christ makes me say “Ouch.  How have I failed in that one, let me count the ways!”  Not rude, always kind?  Ouch.  Always patient?  Ouch.  Not easily angered?  Major ouch. (Sorry hubs- I am really trying to work on that one!!)  But the truly amazing thing about Christ’s love is that all we have to do is say, “Hey, I’m sorry for that way that I failed You.  Please help me to be better in that area.”  And how great is our God that He WILL help you!  He wants us to be good.  He wants us to show His love to His people, so why wouldn’t He help someone with a truly repentant heart turn from their wicked ways?  God’s love is great and merciful and it never fails because failure is not a part of God’s nature.  He is the only unconditional, everlasting love in the world.

For links to a few of the songs that inspired this post:
“Pure” by Kari Jobe