Learning To Love

The image on the left is the word Agape in Greek. Nate and I have been talking about getting tattoos for months now--and this is what I would want on my left wrist if I could bring myself to spend the money. We also have this word engraved on our wedding bands. Agape is an unconditional love, an active love, one that seeks to edify others...it's the kind of love God has for mankind.

Lately I've really been thinking about this term, Agape, and the concept of love. A friend and I had a great conversation last night about how hard it is to love some people. We both described people who just annoy us by the things they do (or don't do), the things they say, the way they look, how they talk, the shoes they wear, etc. But our conversation slowly moved into how important it is to love even those who annoy us the most. It's hard and completely contrary to human nature and what the world or society would have us do.

Last night and tonight I started digging into scripture to find some sort of insight to help me love those who are hard to love. My friend led me to Romans 5:8:

"But God showed us his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners." Now this is an obvious display of love and a perfect picture of loving those who drive us crazy. I am a flawed person who screws up a lot...I can't imagine how hard it is at times for my husband, friends, and family to love me. This verse is a real kick in the face--God gave up His son, and Christ gave up His life for me--even though I annoy Him with my sins.

Tonight I read a few chapters in 1 John and the following verses jumped out:

"Dear children, let's not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth...." (1 John 4:18-19).

It's so important for use to demonstrate love--to be active in our love. It's a good testament of what we believe--Christians have a bad rep because we don't do a good job of loving people. We tend to be selective in who we love. I can think of many times where people probably thought I was a huge hypocrite for proclaiming to be a Christ follower and then treating someone like crap five minutes later.

But...I keep coming back to this idea of how hard it is to actually do this. It's so easy to slip into a mindset of revenge when someone has wronged us. It's easy to ignore those who annoy us. But we've got to find a way to love. We won't ever have a perfect love, but we can strive for it. We can use Jesus as a model, study scripture to find out how to love, pray for strength and wisdom, talk with others about our struggles, and get it tattooed on our bodies so we have a constant reminder (that suggestion is a joke...kind of :) to love even the unlovable.

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