Where do you draw the line on love? Should we only love others to a certain extent?
Humans tend to put limits on love because of past hurts. We say “draw the line” type stuff like this:
“You hurt me too deeply!”
“He has offended me enough!”
“She has failed to listen to me one too many times!”
But what does the Bible say? Does it say to draw the line on love?
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4 – 7 ESV
A very important key is found in verse five: it is not resentful. To simplify the greek word resentful there, it literally means to “take an inventory”.
See, we might say, “I love her, but if she does that again…!” That’s loving until the person disappears behind the wall of offenses you have towards them. The wall is built brick by brick, row by row, until all you see is the wall.
A person surrounded by walls is a lonely person.
Proverbs 10:12 tells us love covers all offenses. All.
Does Love Apply to ALL Situations?
What if a person is in an abusive situation? Does that mean the person should stay in it? No. Wisdom would tell us otherwise. The difference is how our heart responds to that person.
We are still commanded to love and forgive the offender, but that doesn’t mean you need to remain in abuse.
As a friend of mine, Susan, has said: “There’s a difference between putting up a wall, and putting up a shield.”
Still, love is a choice.
There's a difference between putting up a wall, and putting up a shield. #ThrivingInChrist #LoveIsAChoice Click To Tweet
To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you. – C. S. Lewis
I Wanted to Chew Her Out
One day my doctor’s office called me. I tried to convince the receptionist to ask the doctor a specific question for me, but she wouldn’t do it. She kept repeating policy instead. It was one of those questions that, IMO, if I were standing in their office, the lady would ask the doctor on the spot. Her repetition rubbed me the wrong way. I said, “I’ll have to call you back,” and we hung up.
I let it sit and didn’t call back right away. Two days later, a certified letter arrived from the doctor dismissing me from her practice. Mortified and angry, I fought the urge to write a negative review of her practice on Yelp.
Forgiving the receptionist was even harder now that it appeared she painted a negative picture of me to the doctor. Yet the truth of the above verses wouldn’t leave my mind. The battle between the flesh and the spirit was fierce. It went on for days. Finally, I had to make the decision to choose to love or else live in misery. I chose to forgive.
I couldn’t help but apply what I studied in the Word and see it change me.
Stay in Love
See, I couldn’t just choose not to obey this command because it was:
Jesus commanded us to abide in His love (John 15:9). To abide in these verses means to stay. That means I can’t be sporadic with it.
He showed me in order to do this—even in the midst of “getting into my emotions with irritation or selfishness—I will be right back abiding in His love again.
When it comes to people, love is the fine line between what you want to do and what you need to do.
There is no way we can do this on our own. It takes His power, but the choice is ours. If we choose to love, His love is perfected in us (1 John 4:11–12).
In other words, His love is reproduced in us.
If we draw the line on love, then it won’t be fruitful the way He designed. Here’s how this works:
God loved us, so He sent Jesus to die on the cross. We receive that love. When we abide in God’s love, then we “get on the cross” by giving up our wants and desires for someone else’s. Now others can receive it through our attitudes and actions. Then, all men will know that we are His disciples because of our love one to another(John 13:34-35)!
No, we aren’t to draw the line on love. Not according to God’s standard. Yes, we will fail, but remember God is also patient and kind with us!Love is the fine line between what you WANT to do and what you NEED to do. #ThrivingInChrist Click To Tweet
How has God taught you about His love?