If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast,* but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. 9For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; 10but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. 11When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. 12For now we see in a mirror, dimly,* but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love. (NRSV)
I believe this. I hope for this. I work for this. I struggle with this.
Right now, I struggle with the idea of Christian love.
I am coping with someone who causes me great distress.
As far as I am able to determine, I must love this person.
I want to love them and count on the Holy Spirit to move my angry heart to love.
This person punches every single one of my values buttons and more.
For those of you who are new Christians, I'm telling you, following Jesus is counter-intuitive.
Discipleship is difficult hard work.
Here is my plan. I will make myself do the loving thing.
I will force myself to be who I think I should be. I will not be content taking the easy superficial way out.
If you hear yelling, it is I. I am resisting this with my entire being.
Out of the corner of my eye, I can see the brightness of God's goodness urging me forward even if I am considering carrying a vomit bag in my purse because I am so repelled.
I am being childish and petulant rather than trusting.
Although I do believe that if I force myself to be loving the Spirit will carry me through.
I mention this to you so you know I am no saint and that this struggle feels like walking up the highest mountain barefoot and blind.
You may be curious who I am allowing to trouble me this much. I'm not telling. Nope, its not a family member, not a congregant, not someone you know.
Pray me through this, will you?
UPDATE: Thanks for your prayers and comments. Revmutha's "I'm praying that forgiveness tastes better to your soul than savoring your righteous resentment. Dang, I pray that for all of us." keeps ringing in my mind and she is correct that I was stewing in self-righteousness. Not proud of this at all. I got off-balance and you pals brought me back. Many thanks. St.C.