When love fails
Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud...
You get my drift right? I was recently in discussion with a group about 1 Corinthians 13, the love passage. After reading through the ways of love someone asked if we thought that the Lord really intended for us to live up to these standards.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs...
Is Jesus just setting us up for failure here?
If I am being honest (and you know I am), some days I can believe this. I can buy into the lie that I will never be able to fully love in a way that even comes close to this description...why would Jesus even ask that of me? Why should I try? I know I will just mess it up. The truth is, I will mess it up. I will choose myself over my spouse, I will be impatient, unkind and point out five things you did wrong before 10:00 am and do it all again by noon.
The truth is, I will mess it up because I was never
designed to do this on my own.
I do believe that Jesus calls us to live by these incredibly high standards of love,
but, I don't believe that we are expected to do it alone.
You see, Jesus is continually calling us to live in relationship with him; when we love well, when we totally blow it, and every day in between. He is whispering to our weary souls to find rest in him, to remove the mask, to run to him with all of our tired and ugly and lay it down.
Consider a marathon runner. For the most part, they didn't just wake up one morning, throw on some shoes and run 26.2 miles for kicks and giggles. They researched, they trained, they set goals. A runner starts distance training in small increments and slowly builds their way up to the big race. If they have trained for three weeks and miss their 12 mile goal do they call it quits on the spot? No! They lean into their training, they train harder, they gain a better understanding of their bodies and their equipment. They embrace the opportunity to grow. And then, once their race is finished, they often keep training because they know they can go further, run faster and always get a better time.
When don't love well, it isn't because Jesus set us up for failure, it is an opportunity to lean in, to deepen our relationship, and grow our faith.
You see, if we weren't called to such high standards we would think we could do it all by our own grit and determination, we would forget the cross. We would puff up with pride and lose sight of salvation. The truth is, Jesus isn't setting us up for failure, he is calling us into this perfect love because he is patient, he is kind, and through relationship with him we, an imperfect people, get to live in perfect love.
The next time you totally blow it (can I also say that "the next time" is literally right now for me because I just slammed the car door on my husband and stomped inside...) lean into Jesus, hear him calling you into relationship with him. You are not alone.