Sunday, June 30, 2013

Love is Patient

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What does it mean when the Bible says love is patient?

There are some people that it is easier to be patient with than others for various reasons. As Christians, we are called to show love to all people. Thus, we are called to have patience with all people.

An example of being patient with someone we love is my grandpa. My grandpa died ten years ago of Alzheimer's disease. This is a terrible disease that breaks down your mind and its ability to function properly. It is more than just being forgetful. It is your brain shutting down slowly which may seem to be just forgetfulness at first but eventually it forgets to tell your kidneys to do their job, or it forgets to tell your body you are hungry so you don't eat. If you have ever had to deal with an Alzheimer's patient, you know it can be trying and exhausting. When the person is a family member that you love, it is easier to understand that you are battling a disease, not your loved one. And it is a little bit easier to have more patience with them than others.

How do you show love to an Alzheimer’s patient? If you hear the same story twenty times in one day, you still act as though it’s the first time you heard it. If you get called by a name other than your own, you just answer to it anyway. If you get asked the same question over and over again, you smile and answer it for the tenth time in a row. You do this because you love your family member and don't want to be rude to them knowing they can't help it. You do this because it is the right thing to do. You patiently love them despite their disease.

This is an example of showing patience in love that I think everyone would do no matter what they believed or if they were a Christian or not. This is how most of the world would treat a family member with Alzheimer’s. So what is it about 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love that is different? What is it that makes this kind of love stand out in the world?

The difference is that we as Christians are called to have patience with others and love them despite what they have done to us. Human beings are imperfect not matter which one you talk to. Even your closest friend at some point in life will hurt your feelings or do something to disappoint you. What makes this kind of love different is that we are called to show it because it is right, not because it is fair or just.

Patience is not something that is easy to show when the person you are showing it to has hurt you. There are times in life when people will do things that will absolutely devastate your world. You have a choice to love them and patiently deal with the situation at hand, or to walk away from them and give up on them because you don’t want to face the hurt and it seems like an easier solution. The world often tells us this. It often tells us divorce for example, is a better option than standing by your spouse during difficult times. Divorce often would be a quicker solution to ending the turmoil, but really, it’s just creating a different set of problems. Patiently loving your spouse through the hard times is what God would ask us to do.

I have had situations in my own life where God asked me to be patient and keep loving someone even though they had truly devastated me by their actions. The worlds view was telling me that it was time to move on and just let go of this person even though that is the last thing I wanted to do. But God said, keep loving them and keep trusting me. Patience is huge here because it is asking us to just keep waiting for things to get better even when it looks like it never will. It is asking us to put our heart on our sleeve and love someone no matter what we get in return. Patience and waiting on the Lord turned out to be the best choice. That relationship is healing now and it is still intact today. It is only so because I chose to obey what God was asking me to do, even when the world would have told me the complete opposite.

Love is patient… Take a deep breath, say a prayer for strength, and be patient with those around you whether they deserve it or not. It is a way to show them the love of Jesus!

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