so recently, as i have learned that my value is not set in people, i have been having to relearn to love people. some are easier than others, but i have really been struggling. you see, when i place my value and worth in what others think of me, one of the many side affects is that i cannot love them without some sort of selfish motive on my end. the lord has been revealing to me the difference between my selfish love (if we can call it love) and his never ending love. and i keep trying to love people out of my own strength and flesh, but i can't. so the other day as i was dwelling on his love, the stark contrast between mine and his was obvious. here is what the lord revealed to me. and it is written to him.
you are love. if i abide in you then you abide in me. and i need your love in me. your love does not put up defenses and analyze.
your love is patient. i have felt this as i have failed over and over again and i stumble constantly. you never give up on me.
your love is kind. not plotting or sarcastic like mine. it is your kindness that leads us to repentance.
true love is not jealous. well i think we know that my love fails there constantly - if i need someone to value me, i am of course jealous if they are valuing someone else over me.
your love does not brag and is not arrogant. unlike mine that likes for everyone to know just how much i have sacrificed or given up for them and then i think i am better because of it.
your love is not rude. my love is rude because it will do whatever necessary to be noticed, even at the expense of others.
your love does not seek its own. in contrast, mine, even under the mask of servanthood, is for my own name so that people will think well of me.
your love is not provoked or easily angered. and as we know, i am angry a lot and good at holding grudges internally toward those who have wronged me.
your love does not keep a record of wrongs. i, however, love to keep a record of wrongs so that i can look down on others and feel better about myself and my sin. at least i am not as bad as they are or at least i do not struggle like they do. i am also really good at justifying my sin and excusing it, but holding others' sin over their head.
your love does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth. my love does two things. it either overlooks unrughteousness and may even rejoice in it so that i can be loved and accepted. or it rejoices that someone else is struggling with unrighteousness so that i feel better about my own. rejoicing in the truth is hard and it may take awhile. it sounds great, but all too often i am not willing to make the sacrifice or time and energy.
your love bears all things. my love gets tired of others and their needs really quickly (unless it is making me look good). my love does not like to inconvenienced.
your love believes all things. mine is skeptical and second guessing, and constantly playing out the worst possible scenarios in my head. all the while, underestimating the worth of each person and forgetting that your love is working in ways i cannot see.
your love hopes. my love has no hope apart from you and cannot offer any sustainable hope to anyone.
your love endures all things. my love wants the quick fix and i not willing to suffer long for anyone else.
your love never fails. mine has yet to succeed.
lord if they will know us by our love, i need your love now more than ever!!
1 john 4:7-21
1 corinthians 13:4-8