Love is a verb. It isn’t always soft, nor is it always safe. Love can get messy, we can get hurt. We can hurt people, and sometimes a thoughtless deed makes ripples of pain.

According to 1st Corinthians 13, love can mean suffering and being patient. Love means suffering and still being kind. Love doesn’t involve envy, or pride, or wanting for yourself what someone else has. Envy is not love.

Rudeness, greed, and self-serving behavior isn’t love. No, it is not. No matter how cute, rich, famous, or educated the perpetrator is or seems… that still is not love.

Love is not short tempered. If you are short tempered, let’s work on changing that. You are commanded to love. Love is a verb, and hot-headed behavior is counter to it.

Love does not enjoy or celebrate evil. It doesn’t rejoice in lies. It celebrates truth. I have learned we can not lie and blame it on love. We can not lie and call it love.

Love puts up with all things the way Jesus puts up with our garbage. God loves us. We ought to love people and put up with them when they make mistakes.

Love doesn’t lose faith. Love doesn’t lose hope. Love always endures. Love does not expire or give up.

Now, let’s reflect honestly on love. It isn’t always easy. It can take effort. It was love that led Jesus up that hill and to His death. It was love that washed Judas’ feet, knowing he was a traitor. It was love that wouldn’t let Stephen shut up so he could avoid a stoning. It was love that caused God to look into our innermost darkest secret places in our hearts, and still wake us up this morning. Love had Paul singing while chained up in prison.

Love led Peter to tell people he would preach Jesus whether or not the counsel beat him again. Love lays down his life for friends. Love gives himself for his bride.

Love asks God to forgive the people murdering Him, and they don’t know what they’re doing. Love is flipping tables and running crooked people out of your Father’s house because they are perverting its purpose.

Love isn’t always neat and clinical. Love isn’t always fireworks and glory. Love isn’t easy. Love isn’t warm fuzzies or physical attraction. Love isn’t always smooth sailing and clear skies. Love isn’t always clean, logical, or fun. Love is not about giving people what they deserve.

But love is mandatory. It isn’t optional. It isn’t open to interpretation. It is clearly defined throughout the Holy Bible. From Genesis to Revelation you can read the definition and witness examples of it in action.

We are commanded to love. Doing it right will require study, practice, work, discipline, focus, intent, and humility. Sounds like a big job. We’d better get started.