Sarah’s post on symbiosis told us that relationships are a two way street. If we want our relationships to survive and thrive, we have to extend a little grace — that’s a word we Lutherans like to use, which basically means getting something you didn’t earn and don’t deserve. There are times in every relationship when we have to be willing to put aside our own needs and sacrifice for the other. There’s a great “how to” section in the 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians. You’ve probably heard this many times, but have you really thought about it?
“Love is patient and kind”
Am I patient with my friend, even when she forgets my birthday? Or goes on and on about her favorite topic (which doesn’t interest me)? Am I kind and willing to listen to her problems, even on the days I’m tired and really don’t want to talk at all?
“love is not jealous or boastful.”
Am I sincerely happy for my brother when he gets a promotion while I am struggling financially? Can I congratulate him without bringing up my latest success?
“it (love) is not arrogant or rude”
Am I respectful and courteous to the people who serve me at the restaurant, the bank, the grocery store? Do I ask how their day is going? Or do I ignore them in my rush to get on with my other errands?
“Love does not insist on its own way”
Do I give my husband and children a say in our family life and daily routines? Or do I expect them to go along with my preferences?
“it (love) is not irritable or resentful”
Am I understanding when my co-worker needs extra time off? Or do I feel put upon and angry?
“it (love) does not rejoice in the wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
Do I try to put the best interpretation on the behavior of others? Am I will to forgive them when they’re wrong and keep encouraging and believing in them? Or do I give up and walk away?
In all our relationships, the greatest asset is love. Use it daily.