“Love is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance. Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense. Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up.” [Corinthians 13:4-7]
So, I’ve recently been watching this show on Amazon called “Modern Love” It is about different people’s love stories in New York inspired by true stories which are written in the New York Times “Modern Love” column. One of my favorite episodes is episode 3, “Take Me as I Am, Whoever I Am.” Spoiler alert, in this episode Anne Hathaway has bipolar disorder, a disorder where people experience mood swings in which they have very extreme low points and very extreme high points. No one in her life knows that she has bipolar disorder. Consequently, she is constantly making up excuses to her friends, co-workers, and love interests about her behavior and absences at work. She lives a double life and no one knows who she really is. Towards the end of the episode when another person walks out of her life, she said “Something told me this had to stop, not the illness, that will never stop, but not giving people a chance to make up their own mind about me, to giving them at least some cards in the game. Surely, there’s someone out there who will take me for who I am. One human being who accepts the two people in you. You can’t show only one part of yourself to someone. That’s Hollywood. That’s Gilda. And it’s beautiful, but it can’t last” After having this realization, when she is at her breaking point, she finally tells one of her co-workers/ friends about what’s going on. She said that telling her co-worker/ friend was like “an elephant’s taken one of its feet off my chest.” Her co-worker/ friend thanks her for telling her and they become great friends. This episode reminds me of this verse so much because when we let real love in, it is powerful. It’s like an elephant taking its’ foot off of your chest. It’s a friend knowing you fully, and fully accepting you. It’s the same love that compelled Jesus to die on the cross for us.
In today’s society we are surrounded by a lot of fake love. And from the outside it may look and feel beautiful and glamorous, but like Anne Hathaway’s character said, it can’t last. At the end of Corinthians 13 it says “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” The greatest of these is love. God’s love is large, and incredibly patient. He has waited for me when I’ve said no to his will. God’s love is gentle and consistently kind. He always calls me higher with gentleness and grace. God’s love refuses to brag. He walked this Earth in humility as a carpenter’s son. God’s love is not easily irritated. He was always slow to anger and was always angry on behalf of other people who faced injustices. God’s love celebrates honesty and finds no delight in wrong. He never shames me and always encourages me to bring dark things to the light. God’s love is a safe place. He protects me. God’s love never gives up. He is real love.
Sometimes it’s crazy to comprehend God’s love for us and sometimes it feels like we are not worth it, this unfailing patient and kind love. But here’s the thing: we are. God didn’t just die on the cross for a handful of “perfect” people. He died for me. He died for you. His blood covers everyone. So, if you feel like you have the weight of an elephant’s leg on your chest, remember God died for you because he loves you and because of that you have the power, you have the authority to remove it and let love in and to give love away. What does real love look like in your life? Reread 1 Corinthians 4-7. That’s what it should look like. That’s what you can have. That’s what you can give. That’s what Jesus did for us.
Dear God, thank you do much for loving me and giving me the ability to love others, to love myself, and to receive love. Help me to love like you love and remind me everyday that I am worthy of this crazy love.