A Struggle to Love? // Ephesians 4:31-32
Today’s passage comes from Ephesians 4.31-32: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you” (NLT). These verses come from a larger section about the struggles we can face in relationships with others. Interestingly enough, the Apostle Paul also references the struggles we can have in our relationship with God as well. Most of this is due to original sin where we expect the world to revolve around us, getting our own way right away. The balance is struck when we move beyond our own natural bent toward radical selfishness to see how we are part of the relational reality of God. That reality is rooted in radical love, since love is God’s very nature.
Love can be part of our selfishness problem if we aren’t careful, seeing it through the lens of self-centeredness. Mr. Rogers is quoted as saying, “Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.” That resonates with me, because of how relevant is it to the way God must relate to us. God knows our potential and capacity for godliness, yet doesn’t give up when we fall short; and sometimes dramatically so! This is why we read what we do that we must “be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Yes, this can at times be a struggle, but love is worth it. Always.
In what ways are you struggling to love someone today? How might someone be struggling to love you? Consider that from God’s point of view, too. Let’s get rooted in love, pull the weeds of the flesh, and live into the gracious reality of doing life with God and God’s people.