LOVE IS NOT A CHECKLIST

I was backing out of the driveway one morning to run a few errands when I clipped our SUV on the garage post. Though I was sure it was a minor dent, I still felt the need to call my husband as I left the house.   "You hit the post?  How in the world did you do that?" he asked.  I wanted to explain that I tried unsuccessfully three times to ram the car into the post before I actually hit the jackpot - but I realized this was no time for sarcasm. I did however remind him it was an accident.  When I returned home, less than an hour later, he immediately apologized for getting bent out of shape (no pun intended) over something so minor (though the repair estimate was $700)!

Fast forward 3 days later.  Same week. Same car.  My husband is in Louisville running errands when he hits the corner of an industrial sized dumpster. Yet another dent. When he arrived home and told me the news, I was silent, yet smiling. He smiled too. There was no need for me to say anything. Sometimes unspoken words say it best.

In the course of 36 hours, we managed to put a major dent in both the front and the back of the SUV accruing over $1500 worth of damage.  (We've always made a great team.)  Here's the interesting part - I honestly can't remember if I was responsible for the front dent or the back dent. Here's the beautiful part - it doesn't matter.

LOVE KEEPS NO RECORDS OF WRONG

That was years ago.  We never repaired the damages.  (Yes, the word redneck comes to my mind too.) We have a different car now, but ironically enough, and by no fault of either of us, both the front and the back bumper have a minor dent. We won’t repair it. We laugh and say the car is a symbol of our marriage.  The car, like us, has flaws, but it's reliable and steady.  The car may have imperfections but we see past those. It may not be perfect, but it works perfectly for us. As I look at my husband, I realize he may not be perfect, but he is My Perfect. The car reminds me that he makes mistakes and I make mistakes, but we don't keep score.  We just keep trucking along as a team.

THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS NOT A LIFE OF KEEPING SCORE

Do I have a checklist of right and wrong? I think I can truthfully say I don't have a checklist where my marriage is concerned, but what about my other relationships?  Paul (a bachelor) didn't address The Love Chapter to the married members of the church at Corinth. He wrote the chapter for every person in any relationship.  Do I have a mental checklist of right and wrong when it comes to my family members? My mom? My siblings? My in-laws? Do I keep score? Do I have a "3 Strikes You Are Out Rule" where friendships are concerned? The Christian life is not a life in which we keep score.  Romans 8:1 tells us that there is no condemnation for those of us who live in Christ Jesus.  What Paul is saying is that God doesn't keep score on our sins – and therefore we can't keep score on the sins of others.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – 1st Corinthians 13:4-7

Oddly enough, my husband is very protective of me behind the wheel these days. Due to a permanent morphine pump that helps with MS pain, and the liability that could possibly occur should there be an accident, he always feels the need to chauffeur me around. Why? Yes, because I hit a post, but mainly because he loves me. And love is an action verb, not just a noun that signifies warm and fuzzy feelings.

SO, TODAY, WHO WILL WE LOVE AND HOW WILL WE LOVE?

Who? Each other. That means our spouse, our friends, our co-workers, our neighbors…

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.John 13:34

How? Here are a few practical ways we can show love to someone today

  • Volunteer to do a task for someone today. Remember, love is not self-serving.
  • Compliment people you see today, whether it’s your spouse, a friend or a stranger.
  • Send an email, text, or better yet, make a phone call, to a family member you haven’t spoken to recently.
  • Take the time to pray with someone else.
  • Get rid of that “Wrong and Right Checklist” and forgive someone.

The best way to show someone love today or any day for that matter, is to show them Jesus. Jesus is the definition of love. He knows we are flawed and damaged, but He loves us always. No matter what mistakes we have made, He is ready to forgive when we repent. He wants to have a relationship with each of us for eternity.