When it's difficult to love someone

Originally published Saturday, 25 January 2014.

Most of all, love each other steadily and unselfishly, because love makes up for many faults. 1 Peter 4:8 (VOICE)

I woke up to text message from my colleague that said, “Do you see what they are doing? Not sure I like it. They are leveraging off us.”

The messages went on and on. There was a lot of anger and a lot of fault finding. 

Once I got to the bottom of it, it turned out to be a small thing, something that doesn’t really matter in the greater scheme of what we do. 

It turned out to be a misunderstanding.

I’ve been thinking about how with love the whole text message scenario could have been avoided. Let me try and explain. 

I used to struggle with the idea of loving others because the concept of what “love” was seemed too abstract. 

What did it mean to really love someone? 

Or even harder to love someone who is always flying off the handle?

How could I love someone that others love to hate?

Then a few years ago I picked up a book by Gary Chapman called Love as a way of life. 

I realised love isn’t some ethereal thing that we can have or not have. It isn’t some feeling that directs us.

Love is a practical thing. 

Love is a choice we make to be kind, patient, forgiving, courteous, humble, generous, and honest. (tweet this)

A choice we make every. single. day.

When I realised this, 1 Peter 4:8 became more than a nice sounding verse but something I could actually do. 

I could take small, practical steps towards loving others steadily and unselfishly.

I realised that I knew what kindness looked and sounded like. It wasn't an airy-fairy thing like love. Kindness was practical. 

I decided to try and choose to act out one aspect of love each day of the week. On Mondays I focused on being kind, on Tuesdays I wore patience like t-shirt, on Wednesday forgiveness was the language I spoke, and so on. 

As I did this, I learnt that love helps me to move past small things, love helps me focus on the people and things that matter.

Often when a situation is spiraling out of control – like the text messages – introducing kindness, patience, forgiveness, courteousness, humility, generosity, and honesty can diffuse the situation.

As I practiced love in practical ways I saw that love makes up for many of my faults and helps me to handle the faults of others.

Ponder: Is love a practical thing for you? What steps can you take today to become more patient, forgiving, courteous, humble, generous, kind, and honest?

Prayer: Lord, help me to love steadily and unselfishly. Amen.

{Share this}

You can share this devotional on twitter by clicking here. I’d also love for you to connect with me on my Facebook and twitter pages or if you're viewing this via email you can leave a comment by clicking here.

Get a copy of my e-book Life, Life and More Life for free. Just subscribe to receive my devotionals every Monday and Friday. In the book I share some of thoughts on how to make every moment count, gleaned from my experiences of loving my husband through 18 sessions of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. You can subscribe here

- This was orginally published on my site in November 2013 to read more devotionals like this go to ilovedevotionals.com