Can love make a difference this year?
Can love really make this our best year yet? Love, apple pie, and puppy dogs are all words that evoke pleasant images and feelings. Love is a topic so familiar and so basic that we are tempted to roll our eyes and tune out. We’ve heard the admonition that we should love one another so many times that it can feel trite. Snore-zzzz……
Until we trip over the sins and shortcomings that make relationships hard. Until the kids are screaming in the grocery store. Until misunderstandings and irritations weave in and out of relationships with harsh words and snippy retorts. Until rejection or betrayal kicks us in the gut, leaving us floundering for solid ground in a sea of emotion.
How can love bring in our best year yet?
What we do is far more powerful that what we say.
Maybe this is why the word love is almost cliche’ in modern culture–too much talking and not enough real loving. Too much hype on romance and not enough unselfish giving.
And yet, love is our greatest need and our bravest quest.
“Love me” is the cry of every heart that beats. “Am I loved? Am I worth loving?” These are the questions that plague us in the dark of the night and on the days that ache with loneliness.
Love is the gap between what we say we are and how we act on our worst days:
- If we have a patience problem, we have a love problem.
- If bitterness lurks behind a false smile, we have a lack of love.
- If I have to be in control or have the last word…
Love keeps it real.
Do we have loving relationships that are deep enough, candid enough to confess our sins to one another?
Do we know one another well enough to know the needs of the soul and the frailty of the body? How many times have we not wanted to “bother” someone by asking for prayer? Prayer comes generously and naturally when we love one another. Prayer is a vibrant and real aspect that marks the relationships of friends who follow Jesus.
Confessing our sins and admitting our faults doesn’t come easy.
Yet when we have a relationship securely anchored with love, we can let down our guard. We can put aside our pretending, the empty smiles we hide behind, and we can be real with one another. Vulnerability with our problems comes easier in the warm embrace of a loving, accepting friendship.
When love is present, we can risk confessing the hard issues we struggle with.
- The selfish words we’ve spoken.
- The prideful attitudes that erode our service.
- The addictions and indulgences that leave us stuck.
The soul comes out of the shadows of the fear of rejection, of being “found out.” This is the blessing of love that gets real enough to confess our hard things. Real enough to pray with a heart to lovingly come along side our shaky steps.
We need deep and transparent relationships with a few trustworthy friends who will pray, encourage, and support. Life has some really hard days when we need that loving friend who will listen and pray without judging, fixing, or correcting. These are the friends we want to have.
Receiving the love of Christ frees us to love one another.
We all have our moments, and sometimes those trusted friends make mistakes. Ever blow it with a trusted friend? The words came out wrong. We spoke out of frustration. They let us down. Family or friends, we don’t always get along. Can we love one another in such a way that kindness wins out in the end. Forgiveness is more important than the wins or losses of an argument. Love that looks like this makes every day a good day and every year special:
God doesn’t need us to fix one another, yet how easy it is to respond with our answers and corrections rather than a love that listens and prays.
This is the prayer that accomplishes so very much.
Let love make this your best year ever by cultivating a few close relationships. Let’s be brave enough to be real about our hard things, to confess and pray with loving hearts. Let’s forgive and be kind.
Let’s let love make this our best year yet.
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