Sometimes it’s easier to care about the people we serve, those in far off lands, or our neighbors than the ones who live in our household. 1 Corinthians 13 is quoted at most weddings, and yet how many spouses truly follow the call to true love?
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.1 Corinthians 13:4-5
Loving can be difficult
I have to admit, I often feel like a hypocrite. I can be gracious and patient to a stranger in the store, but my husband often receives my yelling, judgment, and harsh words for the most trivial missteps. It’s easy to love those who are kept at a distance; we don’t have to deal with their messy broken lives up close. It takes little effort to be patient with someone you see once a week. It takes God’s transformative power to know a person’s flaws and weaknesses and continue loving them as God sees them. Sometimes all the little trivial things can make loving the most difficult thing in the world.
Flawed and broken
My heart loves to keep score of all the wrongs my spouse has done. We love to boast to one another about who works harder or who is more tired. We put our own needs first and snap rude remarks when our own selfishness is inconvenienced. Then we talk about world peace and racial reconciliation and the persecuted church, as if the big issues matter more than how we treat each other. I can be so self righteous, so quick to find my husband’s flaws. Yes, he is flawed and broken, but, so am I. My husband must patiently love me in all my sinful brokenness, just as I try to love him. It’s through relationships that we learn and grow.
Living in isolation is not Christ’s model. He came to earth to be in relationship with us. He wants a deep relationship, and that includes the messy brokenness of our hearts. He sees the real us in all our annoying, selfish, irritable ways and loves us patiently and kindly. He came so that we could be whole. He is perfect and loves us patiently and kindly.
It’s through relationships that we learn and grow.
God’s transformative love and healing begins at home. Only then can His love be modeled to others. Only then can real change happen in the world.
Read also: I love you while you hate me