“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-6
A few months ago, God was really emphasizing this verse to me. He called me to a Love Project of sorts – really looking at each aspect of what love is, and bringing my walk into submission with it. I got as far as “love is patient”, and have since realized just how impatient I really am! Learning to walk in true patience has been eye-opening, difficult, and amazing.
Lately, though, I’ve been feeling called to the next part of the verse: love is kind. I’ve been noticing something about myself: I’m a jerk. I have a problem with this person because they’re too abrasive; I have a problem with this other person because they try too hard to be funny and make jokes that are actually kind of rude. Sometimes I find myself distancing myself from somebody on the subway or walking down the street based solely on their appearance (and sometimes their smell).
This is expected and human. But not Godly. Jesus’ kindness was not conditional and wasn’t based on anything superficial. There was no such thing as “I love you but I don’t like you much”. That’s a mindset developed by the world, embraced by the world, and totally against what Jesus stood for. He walked with a level of deep compassion towards people that transcended their earthly qualities.
For me, tapping into the level of kindness required to walk with God’s heart towards people means taking my thoughts captive – those initial, judgemental reactions I have towards people need to go away. I need to catch them, submit them, and pray for Jesus to give me a new, less jerkish heart. There is no way that I can be spiritually prepared for anything if I’m harboring the judgements in my heart that I currently have.
As my friend Rebekah L said though, awareness is the beginning of change. So, Love Project Part 2 begins today. I would encourage you all to join me, and look at your daily interactions. Do they embody the kindness mentioned in this passage? Towards everyone? If so, you’re farther along than I and that is awesome. If not, feel free to join me in making a change!