Love sees the best in each other, gives the benefit of the doubt, and is willing to quickly forgive and move past wrongdoings. But love does not turn a blind eye to shortcomings, and is willing to also challenge and shake up the status quo as needed to bring good to others.
Love is often reduced to the warm and fuzzy feelings we have for each other. And certainly these feelings are wonderful to enjoy. But ultimately love provides what’s needed to bring true good. And this means we do what’s needed and not simply what’s pleasant to receive.
Perhaps this is easiest to see in raising kids. Parents have the duty to act in the best interest of their child even if he doesn’t like it. Discipline, while unpleasant in the moment, produces the desired fruit in the long run.
Of course, this dynamic is different as adults, but a similar duty to love remains.
For instance, it’s not love when we simply tell our wife what she wants to hear – faking the peace as bitterness and resentment grows in our hearts. Nor is it love to take the blame for everything in the marriage. While taking responsibility for ourselves, love also calls us to name her blind spots – gently challenging her to become all that God has for her.
And this plays out with our friends, family, and neighbors as well.
To be sure, it’s not our job to police their hearts. But we also don’t withhold the good just because it’s uncomfortable and potentially disruptive to business as usual. With all the humility and grace we can muster, we gently show them a more excellent way.
In the end, be patient and kind and quick to forgive. And be willing to confront, challenge, and correct as needed as well. Love is not blind and courageously addresses everything that still needs to be made right.