"To ask that God's love should be content with us as we are is to ask that God should cease to be God: because He is what He is, His love must, in the nature of things, be impeded and repelled by certain stains in our present character, and because He already loves us He must labour to make us lovable."~ C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
One thing I have desired this year is to gain a greater capacity to receive God's love. In turn, I want my love for God and others to increase.
Sometimes I forget that love is not simply a good feeling toward someone, it is giving a cup of water to a stranger; feeding or clothing my enemy; spending time with that person that no one else wants to hang out with; or looking the homeless in the eye and acknowledging their humanity.
Yet love is more. It is the willingness to tell my friends when they are wrong, or where they need to grow. At other times is it love that I hold my tongue from sarcasm or a witty remark at another's expense. And there are times when it is love to simply cry with a friend, or to laugh at their ludicrous antics.
The hard part of love is that I see what my acquaintance, friend, or family member could be, and I desire to challenge them to become better. Often this is a slow process, or downright exasperating when I lack the courage to tell them a fault I see. Yet it is because I see what they could be that I am able to speak the truth to them. It is because God cannot tolerate the stains in my character that I can show love to others. It is a severe mercy to love others thus. Yet it is love's nature to call out the best, the excellent, in another.
"Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful."~ Proverbs 27:5-6
O that I would love others more! And O that I would love You more, Lord Jesus! O Love that will not let me go, teach me more of the depth, breadth, and height of Your love.