I have often thought I knew what love was…I have often been wrong. God has been revealing it to me slowly because He understands I am frail and because He knows that love is a frighteningly powerful thing.
If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. Luke 6:32
He is showing me that loving means dying. To truly love I must no longer think of my owns need or desires but I must move in the best interest of others despite what it costs, trusting that He will provide. I have often struggled with the verse that spoke of turning the other check. Does Christ literally mean that I do not defend myself? Does He really expect me to allow myself to be a doormat while others use me?
For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If you know these things, happy are you if you do them. John 13:15-17
When we first began with the boys I was a hot, tired mess. I cried myself to sleep for fear of what the next day might bring…how much more screaming, raging, biting, kicking, cussing can I take? Then I began to do as Christ instructed, I allowed love to do the work. When self cried out (as it often does) “this isn’t fair!” “you shouldn’t be treated this way” I ignored it’s pitiful cries. I get tired easily but love can take a lot. As self dies the labor becomes easier and love given away, multiplies. My littles are unsure what to do with love. Screaming does not move it. Tantrums do cause it to run. And despite their best efforts I see they are oddly attracted to it. Once an angry detestable thing, I was nothing more than the “giver of all rules and punishment”. They saw me as the thing to fight against but now love has made me beautiful to them. Slowly I see them less inclined to turn to strangers for help in their cause against me, slowly, ever slowly love is making me trustworthy.
I still do not understand love as I wish and more often than I care to admit self gets free reign but now that I am acquainted with love I desire to see it fully realized in my life. What rules and structure were unable to accomplish in months love did in weeks. Yes, we still have rules, we still have structure, in fact not much on the outside has changed. But on the inside….the transformation is nothing short of miraculous.
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing….And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3,13