I Love You, But…

funny-quotes-36Peter tells us in 1 Peter 4:8, “Love covers a multitude of sins.” A multitude, that is a bunch, and I’m very grateful for all of the people who love me enough to overlook many of the sins in my life. I’m thankful for a Savior who loved me enough to “cover” my sins with his sacrificial blood and to grant me salvation. But, I know that I’m not always as willing to offer this kind of “covering” love as I am to receive it.

I have learned over the years that receiving unconditional love is much easier than offering unconditional love. The reason is probably because I find my sins much less offensive and perceive of myself as much more lovable than others. See, if I were pressed on the issue, I’d probably have to admit that deep down, I think I’m better than you, that’s why it can be so easy for me to judge you and yet expect you to love me. Of course, I’m not alone, you are probably the same way. And yet, God is not satisfied to leave us right where we are.

Imagine all that he has done for us. Imagine all that we have been forgiven for. And then, think about the small things that we allow ourselves to grow angry over and for which we hold others accountable. “You cut me off in traffic…” Really? “She ignored me…” Seriously? “Don’t look at my kid that way…” You’ve got to be kidding.

As a pastor, I speak publicly often, and I am thankful that I’m not held accountable for every misspoken word that has fallen out of my mouth (I one time called the people in my congregation “stingy jerks”). As a husband I’m thankful that Angela doesn’t hold me accountable for every mistake I make (For instance, after fixing her laptop, it never powered up again). As a father, I’m grateful that my kids have short memories (The list here is too long to mention). As a son, I’m blessed to have parents that have chosen to forgive my shortcomings and love me in spite of myself.

How are you doing at loving others? How are you doing at loving others on your job, in the check-out lane, or in your pew at church? Love covers a multitude of sins and it keeps “no record of wrongs.” Loving someone may not mean that we are able to easily forget their sins against us, it just means that we choose not to keep a record–especially of those petty issues that grate against our nerves. We know their sin, we remember the sin, but we choose to do nothing with it. That’s the essence of Christian love, it “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” Best of all? Love never fails.

I love you but…but what? But I wish you wouldn’t smack your gum? But please keep your baby from screaming? But do you have to be in the express lane with 24 items? I love you, but I’m (insert your complaint here). Let’s learn to endure to the end, let’s learn to hope for the best, lets learn to believe in Christ’s work in the live of others, and lets learn to bear one anthers burdens. I’m sure that the church will be healthier and the world will be a better place.