This morning I was prompted with the question, “How did you learn to forgive?” Without even thinking about it, my response was, “I had to learn how to love first.” (This is where I should let you know that in NO way am I saying that I am perfect at loving people. LOL! I am most definitely not! I am learning, and sometimes failing, every day.) However, I did choose to learn love, the Biblical way, and it’s one of the greatest things the Lord has done in my life. The world will teach you that Biblical love is stupid: you’ll look stupid, you’ll feel stupid, you’ll feel silly. To a certain degree, the world is right. You will feel silly and maybe even stupid, but over time, and from personal experience from being on both sides of needing and giving love, I’ve learned that it’s an honor to freely show people the love of God.
First, I had to learn that love is a choice, not an emotion. Same as forgiveness. You CHOOSE to love and forgive, regardless of how you feel. There were many mornings where I would have to say, “No! I’ve already forgiven them. My flesh doesn’t feel like it, but I love them. Father, help me to see them the way that you see them.”
Second, I made love practical. I used the dictionary and this amazing study to write out what stuck with me. So, copied straight from my Bibles, the dictionary, and my favorite study:
Love is patient: Able to accept delays, problems, or sufferings without becoming annoyed or anxious; long suffering. It doesn’t lose its temper saying, “I’ll give you one more chance.” As we are humbled by our own sin, we learn to be more patient with others.
and kind: Having or showing a friendly, generous, and considerate nature; To withhold what harms and to give what heals; Love is not giving everyone what they desire or want. Love is kind but tough.
Love does not envy: feelings of discontentment or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck; True love desires the success of others. The cure for envy is to pray for the success of those you are envious of. To pray for them demonstrates love, and envy and love cannot exist in the same heart.
Or boast: Not big-headed, but big-hearted. When we brag, we display insecurity and spiritual immaturity. The more spiritual gifts we possess, the more loving we’ll be, the less we’ll brag. We have to humble ourselves before Christ and people.
It is not arrogant: Having an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance or abilities; Grasping for power; Always considers themselves exempt from the requirements of mere mortals; Arrogance disrespects others. We are to serve others and to be gracious to them.
Or rude: Offensively impolite or ill-mannered; Love does not “tell it like it is.”It does not verbalize all its thoughts, particularly if they don’t build up. There is a graciousness that is involved. Love never forgets courtesy, tact, and being polite are lovely things.
It does not insist on its own way: Love is the very antithesis of self-seeking. It is not dominating or stubborn. It listens well and does not talk too much. It is always willing to defer to others.
It is not irritable or resentful: Love does not come with a “Handle with Caution” sign. It is not touchy. It is not given to emotional outbursts, petty annoyances, and doesn’t get under my skin. We don’t HAVE to get irritated if we’re exercising love.
It does not rejoice at wrongdoing: Love is righteous. It takes no joy in evil of any kind. It is not drawn to evil. Psalm 37 tells us that “the Lord will bring our righteousness to light as the noonday… For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land. In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.” Being honest, I used to think that this scripture meant that the Lord would strike down whoever crossed a boundary concerning me! Lol! You cross me, you cross God! Lol however, it’s important to remember that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against demonic forces. (Ephesians 6: 12) In every situation, we are all children of God, and He never wants to embarrass or “strike down” anyone. What He will do, is bring to light the times the enemy was at work in the situation. Love doesn’t hope that the person is exposed, but that in both your life and in theirs, the Lord lifts the veil to see truth in the situation.
Keeps no record of wrong: Love is not bookkeeping of offenses, waiting to be settled.
Love rejoices with truth: Love must conform to the truth of the Word of God. Truth and love go together.
Love bears all things: Carries, supports; “Bears all things” in the Greek means to “cover something”. It is compared to a roof; a covering of protection to keep out things that are hostile. “Love covers a multitude of sins,” (1 Peter 4:8); Love protects reputations. It doesn’t nitpick. It doesn’t criticize in public.
Believes all things: Accepts something as true; Always trusts; People will always become what you believe about them. Choose that they are innocent until proven guilty. Believe the best, not the worst.
Hopes all things: Never gives up on people, despite the circumstance; Never loses faith, despite their shortcomings; Has faith and expects the best.
Endures all things: Suffers something painful or difficult patiently; Hold positions, even to death. Holds fast to people; Perseveres, even in the face of rejection.
Love never ends: Love is an eternal gift. That is POWERFUL in itself!