Love is Not... Passive


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Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not

arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way;

it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

- 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a ESV

I’ve found myself running from hurt. The frigid night air pierces the freshly opened cut that crosses my heart and the fog reveals just how jagged my breathing is. I continue to run from this hurt until I can’t run anymore.

The darkness has pulled my steps in the wrong directions. I feel lost, and all I can see is my own clouded reflection in a slightly cracked glass wall. What lies on the other side doesn’t look inviting, but the wall is warm to the touch and I find myself captivated.

Just on the other side is everything that I believe I want and that I need. Promises to fix the hurt, of safety, genuine love, and steadiness all linger just out of my reach.

But in order to see all of these promises fulfilled, I’ve convinced myself that I must find my way inside. I have to be good enough, I have to be beautiful enough. Then everything that is promised will be mine. I’m even given a warning that it won’t be easy, yet for some reason, I stay. With a shattered sense of identity, I begin to search for a way in, only to be left at a loss of where to go. The most beautiful words that my heart so desperately craved were spoken to serve as a bandage to hold my broken heart together just enough as I attempted to climb over this wall. It’s harder than I thought. I fall so many times, the glass tugging at my skin on my way down. But still, I keep trying.

There’s a sense of urgency here -- a need to be quick to get inside, and it frustrates me. My yearning for the promise of safety and acceptance only increases as my frustration grows. I start to feel crazy for thinking there’s a way in, but I can’t seem to let go of the possibility of what’s inside. My eye catches a glimpse of a hammer nearby and my heart leaps at the chance that this is my key inside. With a worn down, broken heart, I gather all my strength to send the hammer through the glass.

And sure enough, it all comes crashing down around me. I made it inside, but it’s empty. I’m standing all alone: covered in dust and sprinkled with fresh scratches. My bandaid has long fallen off, and my heart is broken far worse than it was when I began. Yes, I made my way inside, but I think I shattered my own heart in the process.

How could I let myself be so foolish to blindly chase after empty words? How could I exhaust myself to the point of complete brokenness? Surely now, I’m damaged beyond repair. I attempt to hide myself in the remaining rubble surrounding me to cover my shame.

But a strong and steady voice calls for me to come out of hiding. Love kneels down and He tells me that He was right there all along; calling for me through the chaos. He looks at all the shattered pieces around me and He shakes His head so lovingly, and He tells me loud and clear that this is not love.

He gathers the broken pieces in His hands, calling each one by name. Arrogance, Selfishness, Irritability, Passiveness, Resentment… and He tells me that these are not qualities of love. These aren’t characteristics of our God therefore they are not stable. All of the promises of God find their yes in Him, in who He is. (2 Corinthians 1:20)

And here I am, surrounded by the most broken parts of myself, in complete awe of the contrast between man’s love and the love of our King.

The two cannot even begin to compare.

Reflection

1. Where in your life have you let yourself run after things of man rather than the things of God? Is there a hurt you’ve been running from to avoid having to confront it? I encourage you to take the time to reflect and to pray for God to reveal these areas to you.

2. How can you let the way you love others look more like Jesus? Where are areas that you can work in more patience, more celebrating, and more mercy into the way you love?

Prayer

Jesus, we thank You for the way You love. Your words hold so much meaning and so much truth. Your promises never once waver. They don’t shatter and they don’t fail. Your love is steady and You mean exactly what You say, Lord. When the world lets us down, remind us of Your faithfulness and Your goodness. You are so worthy of our trust. Help us to look more and more like You every single day.

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