“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; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV
Well, the holidays are nearly over. Feeling a little grumpy? Feeling overwhelmed? I know I am. Clutter, noise, excitement, being away from home, socializing, and breaking from the gentle routines that soothe me will leave me feeling depleted. I see it in my kids, too. Yesterday my 3 year old cried nearly the entire day and didn’t seem to know how to do anything except get into trouble. My 8 year old didn’t want to leave the couch (and I didn’t make him). They both went to bed an hour ahead of their usual bedtimes.
I didn’t do much better – just drifted around the house, and very slowly picked up, sorted through, or cleaned the aftermath of all our merriment – trying to ease my anxiety by restoring order. (First world problems, right?)
Christmas was fun, but man, we’re tired.
And it’s at times like this that we’ll lose sight of why we did it all in the first place.
Why did we celebrate Christmas? Isn’t it all about love? Jesus and His love, and the way we’re all supposed to love each other?
I don’t always feel like being loving. As I laid in bed the other night, I confessed this. And I asked the Lord: what is blocking me?
The answers may lie in a chapter of the Bible that has been made famous by weddings everywhere. But let us be clear: these words are not only for weddings! They hold the keys to the things that trip us up; that throw us off of our love game.
“Are you done or not?” “Hurry up.” “Either do this or I’ll do it for you.”
Few things tax my patience like assisting a 3 year old with his frequent, long-drawn-out, slow-pokey trips to the bathroom.
But patience, is what is required. Impatience, is a love-blocker.
Don’t even get me started on this one. Everywhere I look, there is something to envy. Homes, relationships, physical attributes, clothes, wealth, success, talent, recognition, vacations, accomplishments…even spiritual experiences!
It’s a daily struggle. It’s a love blocker.
My way or no way
“It’s fine if you want to get together, but if it’s not on my schedule, then too bad.”
“Oh gross, didn’t we eat (fill in the blank) last year?”
“What a lousy gift. Why did they even bother?”
“There’s no way I’m driving that far.”
Let me be clear, personal boundaries are allowed. If you can’t accommodate the way others want you to do things, there is a way to decide that with a clear head (after you confess your offense/anger to God and let it go). And then, to communicate your decision to them kindly.
But getting in a huff over it, and holding on to resentment, and NEVER being willing to adjust your plans or preferences to accommodate those of others? Major love blockers.
Rejoicing at wrongdoing
“Uh, what’s that juicy bit? Tell it again, I may have missed it.”
Proverbs 18:8 (NIV) says that “The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts.” I think this is a very vivid, pointed verse. Are you familiar with that little leap of excitement you feel on the inside, when you hear about some kind of scandal? Especially if it’s someone you’re angry with or envious of, because their wrongdoing or misfortune either substantiates your position, or makes you feel better about yourself.
I am learning to check my heart, and if there’s anything in there besides love and concern for the person being spoken of, not participate in the conversation.
Impatience, envy, “my way or no way,” and rejoicing at wrongdoing. 4 major love blockers. I’m acquainted with them…are you?
Lord, I confess that I’m rarely as loving as I want to be. Thank you for these verses, which help me to understand some of the reasons why. I’m sorry for being impatient, envious, wanting my own way, and rejoicing at wrongdoing. You are the only one who can help me to conquer these things, so I ask you to help me, please.
I know that to me, nothing feels better than being truly and genuinely loved. Please give me the capacity to extend that to others, in an authentic way, so they can experience the amazing feeling of being loved, and so I can be of good use to your purposes while I am here on earth.