By Katie Kafka
Our study in agape love has been one that has drawn me into prayer. The more I learn about these attributes of God, because He is Love, the more I realize how I need to talk to Him about the ways my life can be a reflection of His love. So far, the attributes of agape love have been somewhat self-contained. I pray inwardly for more of these things in my life:
Love is patient. Love is kind.
Yes Lord, make me patient and kind as You are always these things to me. Help me to be an extension of Your patience and kindness to those around me.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
Help me to keep my focus on You, working in me. As I see evidence of Your love in my life, may I be overwhelmingly satisfied, giving You all the credit and the glory.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered,
I want nothing more than my rapport, my motives, and my attitude to be pleasing to You. Give me Your lens. Help me to see people the way You see them so I may respond in a manner that creates a space where respect, unity and peace can flourish.
it keeps no record of wrongs.
Here is the next layer of agape love that sheds light on how to show love in the midst of sin. It’s the kind of love dare where all the prior mentioned attributes are required in order to proceed. Paul encourages people of the church to not manage sin. Simply put, agape love doesn’t keep score of the sins of others. It is not our job to reckon, count, compute, calculate, weigh, judge or determine the sinful choices of others. Oh, how this is an immense struggle and yet also a relief.
My heart struggles in the circumstances of it all. Sin has this ripple affect where one person’s destructive choice disrupts many lives. It is so easy to want to manage that sin because it is affecting your life. It becomes persona,l and so we try praying for a particular outcome. We insert a poignant conversation. We offer to walk through Scripture with them. We model righteousness hoping they notice and follow by example. When all this well-intended striving seems to make little difference, it starts to feel messy. These moments have become more of a way to manage and track the sin than a way to love the sinner and hate the sin.
On the flip side, my heart finds relief when 1 Corinthians 13:5 reminds me that we are not meant to shoulder this burden. It is not our job to reconcile the sins of others because God is Love. He has already done this work through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, ensuring that all who believe experience grace and mercy this side of the cross. His love leads us to this realization that we can love others in spite of the messy circumstances of sin. What a good word for our hearts!
I often find myself talking to God about the best way I can love the people in my life who walk down a sinful path with intention. As I move forward with attributes of agape love in clear view, I pray outwardly for the opportunity to extend grace to another who desperately needs it.
Lord, my heart aches when the body of Christ chooses to walk in darkness rather than walk in the light of Your truth. Do they not know the same God that I do? If they love You, wouldn’t they cherish Your ways? Wouldn’t they seek the design You have for their life and be satisfied? It should be different. I wish it were different. I pray that I would not keep track of their sin. Help me to follow in Your loving example and release others of their wrong choices because I am not meant to hold on to it. I am so grateful that You are in control. Remind me often of this so I might love well, even in the midst of sin and struggle. Amen.