One scripture that never fails to remind me of my shortcomings is John 13:35: “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
It’s not as if I don’t love others: I love my husband and child. I love my church family. I feel compassion for those I see holding signs on the side of the road, for those who walk around with that empty, hopeless look in their eyes.
But when I consider what biblical love really is, I know that I lack. Apart from warm, fuzzy feelings or moments of empathy, I see in I Corinthians 13:4-7 that . . .
Love is patient and kind. Even when my child spills his drink on the floor . . . for the third time in so many hours.
Love does not envy. Even when I work myself to exhaustion, while everything seems to come so easily to my sister in Christ.
Love does not boast. Even when doing so seems it might take a certain snotty person down a peg or two.
Love is not arrogant or rude. Even when the bank teller obviously has no clue what she’s doing.
Love does not insist on its own way. Even when it’s “just my personality” to be assertive.
Love is not irritable. Even when I didn’t get quite enough sleep. Or breakfast. And the office AC is apparently set on 58 degrees.
Love is not resentful. Even when a friend gets recognized and I am overlooked.
Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing. Even when someone who seemed to have it coming to them falls.
Love bears all things. Even when it’s inconvenient.
Believes all things. Even when there’s not a chance.
Hopes all things. Even when I’ve been let down before.
Endures all things. Even though it hurts.
Love never ends.
So true love, Christ-like, agape love, seems to be a pretty tall order. And I know I may not completely master it in this lifetime—at least, not with one hundred percent consistency. But I will work at it, because more than anything, I want to be known as one of His followers. And I will embrace this challenge of love, because I know that in all my failures, God has shown this kind of love toward me.