In the words of that famous theologian Liz Lemon, “Love is patient. Love is weird, and sometimes gross. Love is elusive.” Not quite the words of Paul, but I rather think he would agree.
This month I’ve been memorizing 1 Corinthians 13, trying to marinate in what it means to really love someone. Patiently. Kindly. Unjealously. Hopefully. Enduringly. Unfailingly. I’ve been doing my best to put this into practice with my husband, my family, my friends.
But recently I was struck by this lightning-bolt realization:
I don’t get to choose who to love.
Earlier this week I was an utter jerk to someone. The story isn’t interesting, but suffice it to say that I was petty and selfish and rude and stubborn. Most of the time I’m able to keep the ugly pretty well underground, but on that day it came bubbling right to the surface.
All those good words I’d sealed into my heart about not being rude and self-seeking flew right out a sneaky back door reserved for caveats. Somewhere along the way, I suppose I decided that it was up to me who I showered love on.
But in this week of all weeks, how can I be stingy with love? How dare I decide whether someone is worthy of love? It is, after all, the week of Passion. The week of the profoundest of all loves. The week when Love himself fulfilled his mission. The week he stretched out his arms, extending his love to every last one of us, undeserving as we are.
And so this week, as I look to Jesus’ ultimate act of love on the cross, I wonder what it would look like to love more like he does.
What if I loved like it was my job?
What if I loved till it spilled over the edges?
What if I loved without asking anything in return?
What if I loved believing it could put broken things together again?
What if I loved like it was my one assignment from Jesus?
(Because, of course, it is.)
I want to love the lovable and the less lovely. I want to love the people who are easy to love and the ones who are hard to love. I want to love, period. Even when it’s weird, or gross, or elusive.