Love Is…and Isn’t



GIBBONSLove is patient—as opposed to people who rush to judgment; as opposed to those who insist that everybody should agree immediately on the obviously right answer, whether or not they have had time to think it through.

Love is kind—as opposed to those who are willing for other people to suffer as long as they get their own way; as opposed to those who say everything they think without regard to how anyone else might feel.

Love does not envy—as opposed to those who want to make sure they get credit for all they do; as opposed to those who like to say “I told you so.”

Love is not proud—as opposed to those who can never admit being wrong or needing help; as opposed to those who feel that their status or their contributions should privilege their ideas.

Love is not rude—as opposed to those who interrupt, shout, or bully people with whom they disagree; as opposed to those who make sarcastic remarks, or pointedly stop speaking to someone who differs with them.

Love is not self-seeking—as opposed to those who would impose their preferences on everyone; as opposed to those who would score points by taking advantage of someone else’s weakness or trouble.

Love is not easily angered—as opposed to those who find pleasure in their indignation; as opposed to those who are quick to take offense, for themselves or on behalf of others, whether or not offense was intended.

Love keeps no record of wrongs—as opposed to those who sulk, pout, and nurture intentions to settle old scores.

Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth—as opposed to those who whisper and insinuate; as opposed to those who routinely look for the worst rather than the best possible explanation for someone else’s behavior or decision.

Love bears all things—including the clumsiness and bad judgment and moral failures of those we love;

Love hopes all things—including the promise of community and our potential for learning, growth and change;

Love endures all things—including the pain of recognizing how we all fall short of the values we proclaim and our aspirations for community; including the delicate, tedious, awkward effort to make it right, picking up the pieces of covenant to try again.

Excerpted from her sermon “What Communities Learn.”

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