As a Libra, I’ve been told that we can hold a grudge for a long time. But I don’t really believe in zodiac signs all that much. My kids however, can attest to my ability to hold on to something and just not let it go. It’s sad really. So, God has been dealing with me lately about love. Real love, not that fly by night stuff that depends on your feelings. Love that is lasting, that believes all, suffers all. Yep.
See, I always thought if you love someone you’d act a certain way. Treat that person right and all that. Some people have fallen short in my eyesight. They didn’t quite treat me the way I felt they ought, if they indeed loved me. But then I realized, they were not the only one who came up short. When you love someone, it should mean more than mere words. And I think I’ve been paying lip service all this time.
There resides in all of us, another person, an ugly individual that we hope no one ever sees. A good friend will understand, forgive, and excuse such behavior. Even make you feel good about it. Some of my best memories are of friendships where the love continued after my ugly side had been displayed. One girlfriend brought me to tears, and freed me, by these words: There is nothing you can do to make me love you any less. I’m getting misty eyed just thinking about it now. That kind of acceptance of me and my flaws just floored me. Truly brought me to my knees, y’all!
But what of when I am required to do the same? All this time, I’ve been thinking that I’ve been capable of that kind of love when I’m not. Sure, I put up with another’s alter ego for a while but eventually, I decide that I’ve taken enough. The ugliness makes me flee because I felt if they truly loved me, they wouldn’t do certain things. I thought about what they should have done versus what they did and what my response should be. There was a limit to my patience and therefore, my love.
Where is the real love in that? And I pride myself on not being reactionary, normally. Maybe I need to just be more like: “I love you, friend, but you’re crazy asl! I still love you, tho!” Real love carries on DESPITE how badly we behave. It doesn’t run.
The only folks in my life that I know for sure I love beyond any disagreement, poor judgement or bad behavior are my immediate family. But God is calling me to more. When I say I love someone, to really love them. Even the ugly in them. Or to at least stop bandying that word around. It becomes meaningless if you base your love on conditions.
I heard a pastor put it like this: Love is perfect but we administer love from flawed vessels. The person we see and love is just a facade which hides that person who believes themselves unlovable at their core. So our love must go deeper than the surface, to the person they truly are and are trying so desperately to hide. My endeavor and my assignment is to love, really love, and to mean it.
So why this message of love right before Christmas? At this time of year, we dwell on it as much, or more than on Valentine’s Day. Peace on earth, goodwill towards men. For God so loved the world that he gave his only son. This season was made for love. This is also the time of year that we don’t reach out to our own loved ones and friends, all because of a disagreement or infraction. But this is the time when, likely, they need love more than at any other time. Your mission is to love someone, really love them and trust God, trust love to work out the kinks in your relationship. For it is the love of God that reconciled us to him, despite our sins. Love won. And it still does.
Love one another, as I have loved you. John 15:12