“Let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.” — 1 John 3:18.
Practice loving. That’s an interesting thought for people who profess to love. There was a time that I had a personal encounter with the reality of practicing it “in truth and action.”
I worked with a woman who was like family. I had known her all of my life. When I became an adult, we were often at odds although we both professed to love one another. Frankly, she drove me crazy with no effort at all. It was hard to love her. I wanted to, but over time, the effort became too much. I was overwhelmed. I prayed and prayed for God to change her, to “fix” her.
One day, the Spirit confronted me, “What if she lives a long time and never changes. What will you do?” My heart broke. God convicted me. I wanted to throw her away and be free, but I couldn’t. I cried and cried. Finally, the Spirit prayed for me, “God, you’ll have to love her through me because I can’t. I want to love, God. For your sake, Lord, help me! Oh Lord, fix me!”
Over time, I did learn how to love without wanting to change or fix her. It’s one of the deepest lessons of faith I’ve learned. I’m still learning. Love isn’t a feeling. It’s agreement with God because love matters to God.
Prayer: Lord, forgive us when we fail to lay down our will and our lives for our sisters and brothers. We try to love on our own, but we can’t. Love through us and live in us until we learn how to do it. Make us more like you. For Christ’s sake. Amen.
Rev. Maxine Bolden