i have been wrong about love for a while now.
Love is not about me and never will be. When I try to make loving others about what I can gain in return, it isn't really love. That's selfishness.
In 1 Corinthians 13, Christ maps out exactly what love looks like. According to God's Word, we are nothing without love. Paul even goes on to say that we need to love as if our lives depended on it (1 Corinthians 14:1).
love never gives up.
love cares more for others than for self.
love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
love doesn't strut,
doesn't have a swelled head,
doesn't force itself on others,
isn't always "me first,"
doesn't fly off the handle,
doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
doesn't revel when others grovel,
takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
puts up with anything,
trusts God always,
always looks for the best,
never looks back,
but keeps going to the end.
If I'm honest, I haven't been loving like that. Love has been about "me first" and has kept score of the wrongs done to me. It's amazing to think that I thought I had forgiven those who have hurt me, yet I was still walking around with that weight on my shoulders. By holding onto my hurt, rather than truly and fully forgiving those who've hurt me, I developed a pride and selfishness in my heart that said, "Emily, look out for yourself. Help those who can help you in return. Love those who will love you back. Then you won't get hurt again." This past Sunday at Church of Hope, we had the opportunity to be the mercy seat to those we need to forgive. We literally wrote on a wall, "God, i forgive..."
After writing those words on that wall this weekend, emotions poured out of me that I had suppressed for years. I had thought in my mind that simply saying, "I forgive _________" meant that I had forgiven them; however, writing on that wall made my decision of mercy concrete. I saw it in black and white for the first time and it rocked my world. At that moment, I saw a level of my heart that I had tried to mask--I have been selfishly loving for personal benefit.
When God brought 1 Corinthians 13 to my attention, I thought I already knew what it said. When I read it again this weekend, though, I realized that I had missed the point entirely. Love is so different that how I have imagined it to be. I thought love was a task to be completed. In reality, love is a lifestyle to be adopted. Love is a completeness from the One who completes me and makes me who I am. I cannot truly love others until I have experienced this amazing love myself. When I realize that the Creator of those beautiful stars loves me with a passionate and unconditional love, how can I not praise Him? How can I not pursue Him--and passionately at that? When I choose to focus my eyes on Christ alone, I can truly love. When I try to love out of my own strength, I am loving others for my own benefit--and that's not love according to the One who created love. That's love according to the world who modified it. Love reaches outside of myself to a dying world that needs to experience the same forgiveness that Christ extended to me on the cross.
Lord, thank you for waking me up! I do not want to live focused on myself. I want to live according to the purpose that you created me for. I want to love people because they are your sons and daughters. I want to love truly and genuinely. Help me to care more about others than I do about myself. Root out the pride and selfishness in my heart, and make me a woman after Your heart alone. Help me to offer mercy and forgiveness to those who have hurt me. Thank you for completing me. I love you.
I am not God. I cannot change on my own. Christ alone can change this heart of mine. Through His power and guidance, I'm making a U-turn and walking down the path of truly loving people.
"Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of these three is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13, the message