A Modern Day Fairy Tale

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On Loving One Another

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A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. - John 13:34

Love one another.

Pretty straightforward as far as commandments go, but so often it seems like it's one that we still struggle with. It's easy enough to love our friends and our families most of the time, but what about our neighbors, our coworkers who we don't always agree with, the person on the other side of the fence. How do we love them? And more importantly, in such a broken world... what does it even mean to love?

Thankfully, the Bible also gives us a great example on how to love like Christ:

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. Love never fails. - 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

A few years back, I spotted an article floating around that as meant to encourage young girls to find the right kind of love. It suggested replacing the word love with the name of that crush or potential boyfriend. I loved that idea as I feel that we all too often settle for a person who doesn't treat us as we deserve to be treated. But as I thought about that, I also realized it was a great way to take a look at our own lives and relationships, and ensure that WE too are showing love to those around us--- be it our spouses, our children, or a stranger at the checkout line.

Love is Patient. Oh boy... when you have kids, this one is tested often. And let's face it, most of us lose that patience more often than we'd care to. Hey, I have very strong willed children... I GET IT. It's something we might have to work on daily, but make it a goal... take a moment to pray before approaching situations that are going to try that patience.

Love is Kind. In theory of all of these, I always found kindness to come very easily. It's not hard to offer a smile or open a door. Still, these days it seems that kindness does not come as easily to many. With social media, there's a sense of anonymity that encourages us to be speak our minds without regards to the feelings of others. Of course there is nothing wrong with expressing opinions, but I believe as Christians we must strive to do so with kindness. I recently heard a quote--- "The world doesn't read the Bible, they read Christians", and I always hope that if people are reading me, kindness is what they find.

Love Does Not Envy. In a world of Pinterest, this is TOUGH! It's hard not to want better, and to feel like the grass must be greener. Especially when things aren't going well. And you know what? I think it's absolutely fine to set goals and work towards those things. But just dwelling on what you don't have harbors resentment for those who do... and that can really get in the way of being able to love them.

Love Does Not Boast. There's a fine line between sharing and showing off... so fine in fact that often it's hard to tell the difference. We see this around holidays in particular it seems. So, are we supposed to keep things to ourselves... or is it okay to celebrate the successes and blessings we have been given? I think in this case, maybe it's just something we need to check ourselves before posting/sharing--- Am I sharing because I'm excited? Or am I sharing because I want to show someone else up? If it's the latter, perhaps we ought to think twice.

Love Is Not Proud. It's hard to admit when you're wrong, but I think in any relationship, it's so important. Sticking your ground when you know you made a mistake can only lead to more arguments. It's a tough thing to do, but I think it can only be good for any relationship to say, "Hey you know what... I screwed up, I was wrong and I'm sorry." Even as a parent, if my patience is lost with my children, I try to apologize.

Love Does Not Dishonor Others. How many times do you see someone taking to social media to blast their spouse? Or maybe conversations overheard at work? One thing that has always been really important to me as a wife is not speaking negatively about my husband. To me, that is not honoring him. Every couple disagrees at some point and most marriages have peaks and valleys... but if we put them on blast, once the fight is over, we move on, but those we complained to will hold onto it. I have long said the only person you should complain about your spouse to is their mother--- they already know their faults and love them anyway, just as you do at the end of the day.

Love Is Not Self-Seeking. When you're carrying out acts of love, are you truly doing them to show your love or because you want the accolades for doing so? I think this is another that can be very tough, because when you work hard at something you do want some sort of recognition. Honestly, I can't tell you how happy it makes me when my kids tell me I'm the best cook ever. Still, that's not why I do it. Much like being boastful, I think this is another place where we need to be mindful of our intentions.

Love Is Not Easily Angered. Love one another. That's the verse. Not 'Love one another, EXCEPT the person we disagree with... or the jerk who cut us off in traffic.' Oh yes, even road rage is not exempt from love. We live in an angry world, where every little thing can set us off. Sometimes you just have to take a moment... breathe... ask God for help.

Love Keeps No Records of Wrong. We're human, we make mistakes... and having those mistakes brought up at all times? That's no good for any relationship. I think maybe if we take a look at our own past mistakes, perhaps we will be better able to offer grace to others. It's tough, but we're not in it alone.

Love Does Not Delight in Evil, But Rejoices in Truth. Sometimes it seems like we live in a world that is just waiting for everyone to fall. Look at celebrity gossip magazines and it's clear to see--- drama, drama, drama. People seem to thrive off of it, and almost seem to find joy in seeing the negative. Sin is celebrated, even glamorous. Being a 'goody-goody' is looked down upon, and when you speak out against such things you're accused of being judgmental. Instead of giving into it, let us all try to look for the goods--- disregard those things that bring us down.

Love Always Protects, Trusts, Hopes, Perseveres. Love Doesn't Fail. I love that word--- always. Not for a day, not for years... always. Love isn't easy. Sometimes it's easier than others, but there are always those moments. Whether it's a trying time in a marriage, struggling with your children or issues with a stubborn coworker... love just keeps on. It's headstrong, it's stubborn... just as we should be.

When you break it down, how do you stand up? We all have our strengths and our weaknesses. We all have moments where we fall short, but if we revisit this verse and apply it to our day to day lives, it can serve as a great reminder of what it truly means to love one another. So today, I want to encourage you to do just that. Take a look at yourself. How are you showing your love? What can you change to better show that love? What can you pray to be stronger in?


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