“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5)
Often when we say “I love you” we mean “I like you. I think you’re a nice person and it is usually pleasant to be around you.” When someone questions our love for them, however, they mean, “You have been impatient, unkind to me, envious of me, boastful, arrogant, or rude towards me. You probably have also have been insisting upon your own way or have been irritable or resentful towards me.”
Sentiment alone is of little value to others. What they need to see is love in action, love in motion. How we treat others determines whether they will feel loved or not by us. So next time someone you love questions your love, don’t be offended. Take a breath and consider how loving you’ve been lately. Often, the folks we love the most, we take the most for granted, and treat the worst.
That said, if no genuine loving feelings lay behind our loving actions, eventually we will slip and betray our true feelings towards them. Proverbs speaks to how painful such an experience is when it says better are wounds from a friend than kisses from an enemy. Paul also tells us our love must be genuine. So we do need to set our hearts right by praying and receiving from God a genuine heart for and compassion towards that person.
Lord, thank you for your word. I pray we would more than memorize this, I pray we learn to live it. If there is anyone in our lives we haven’t been treating right, give us the courage to make that right. If there is anyone we harbor ill feelings towards, change our hearts so we can show genuine Christian love. Enable us to forgive and release past hurts to you and think on them no more.
When we feel stressed, remind us, Lord, to bring our irritations, frustrations, and resentments before your throne and leave them in your capable hands. Forgive us for the times we’ve taking them out on those we love and grant us true repentance in our hearts, that we might not sin against you in hurting our loved ones like this anymore. In Jesus’ name, Amen.