A few Sunday’s ago, we heard this beautiful gospel passage from John:
“My children, I will be with you only a little while longer.
I give you a new commandment: love one another.
As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.
This is how all will know that you are my disciples,
if you have love for one another.” – John 13:34-35
Jesus gave us a new commandment: love one another. That’s it. Just love one another. All we have to do is one thing? This is going to be easy!
Well, as it turns out, loving one another is not so easy, huh? Not if we consider what it REALLY means to love one another.
Definition of love:
Noun: Unselfish, loyal, and benevolent concern for the good of another.
Verb: To feel affection and tenderness for another.
If your life experience is anything like mine, I’ll venture a guess that there are times when you aren’t feeling the love (verb) towards your significant others! Yet, even when we aren’t feeling the love, we are still called to give the love (noun). As if this isn’t difficult enough, Jesus’ commandment is to love one another “as I have loved you.” Gulp!
But Jesus, You love us perfectly. Unconditionally. Exactly as we are, at every moment, with no judgment. How in the world can we be expected to love one another like that??
Obviously, He knows we fall short. Yet another reason to surrender our striving in favor of His divine mercy. Surrendering to His mercy does not mean we give up on loving, however. Consider this “Love Challenge” as a guide to help us take small steps.
The Love Challenge
The purpose of the love challenge is to think about love in the way God thinks about love. The challenge is based on this description of love, given to us by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7…
“Love is patient, love is kind. Love is never jealous or envious, never boastful, nor proud, nor rude; never selfish, not quick to take offense.
Love does not demand its own way. Love keeps no score of wrongs; does not gloat over another’s sins, but delights in truth.
There is nothing love cannot face. Love always protects, always trusts. Love hopes all things. Love endures all things.”
In the love challenge, we replace the word “love” with the pronoun “I”…
“I am patient, I am kind. I am never jealous or envious, never boastful, nor proud, nor rude; never selfish, not quick to take offense.
I do not demand my own way. I keep no score of wrongs; do not gloat over another’s sins, but delight in truth.
There is nothing I cannot face. I always protect, always trust. I hope all things. I endure all things.”
How does that strike you as you read those verses using the word “I”? Certainly gives me plenty to improve upon in the way I am loving others (and the way I am loving myself too)!
Taking the Love Challenge consists of the following three steps:
- Choose one phrase or sentence from the verses above to pour your love energy into today. Perhaps it will be “I am not envious” or “I am not quick to take offense” or “I endure all things.”
- Write this phrase or sentence on an index card to carry with you all day. Read it to yourself often throughout the day. Allow this particular way of showing love to guide your interactions and your mothering today.
- At the end of the day, check-in with yourself:
- What was it like to show love to others in this way today?
- What impact did you notice, if any, on your relationships?
- How do you feel in this moment?
- Choose a phrase each day! It can be the same one or a different one. I sometimes have to work with the same one for a while before that way of loving flows more naturally for me 🙂
I hope you’ll join me in taking this challenge. Together, and with our Lord’s help, we are cultivating loving cultures in our homes and families. What a gift to give our children, our mates, and ourselves.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite scripture verses:
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” – 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
Click here to download a 2″x3″ Reminder Card for your mirror, refrigerator, computer monitor, etc.
A Closing Prayer:
Heavenly Father, help me to love as you love! Open the eyes of my heart so I may see myself more clearly. Please reveal the truth of my own heart to me. Show me where I hold onto selfishness or pride, where YOU wish for me to only Love. Thank You for how You love me with all constancy and mercy. Teach me to do the same. In Jesus name, Amen!
Copyright 2016 De Yarrison