The bathroom counter is a minefield of Sparkle Crest toothpaste for the third time this week. Globs drip from the faucet and streak the front of the cabinet. A neon blue smear on the mirror dries slowly into a crust. The blue goo-smeared hand towel lies discarded on the floor. As I turn to track down the culprit, another trail of vivid blue rubs from my sock onto our new carpet. I grit my teeth, removing my sock, as a cheerful voice echoes down the hallway.
"Hey, Mama! We’re out of toothpaste again!"
"Beloved: This is the message you have heard from the beginning: Love one another" (1 John 3:11).
We know love because Jesus laid down His life for us. Love is the key to the whole Christian faith. It’s The Most Important Part.
So why don’t we have it down yet? Why is love the hardest part of following Jesus? Well, other drivers are terrible. People’s social media posts raise our blood pressure. Neighbors’ dogs poop in our flowerbeds, co-workers tend to leave moldy leftovers in the refrigerator, roommates routinely forget to take out the trash, and sometimes we just don’t feel very loving, do we?
Those things are annoying. But Love isn’t a feeling. We are to love, Saint Paul says, in truth and action. The truth of what we do matters more than the feeling behind it. So we grit our teeth and empty the trash can again. We extend a neighborly smile to that dog-owner. We bite our tongues before we say what we’d really like to say to that co-worker at the next staff meeting. We can do all of this and more, because God (Who is greater than our hearts and knows everything!) loves us! He loved us, first, even knowing exactly how we’d struggle with these very things. Jesus laid down His life so we would know how precious we are to Him.
We can do this. We can practice love, even when it’s hard. And if we practice, with Jesus’ help and unfailing love, we’ll get better.
Join me as we pray the Act of Love together today.
Abbey Dupuy is the Assistant Theological Editor for Blessed is She and writes her life as a homeschooling mama of four frequently barefoot children. She muses about imperfect parenting, practicing gratitude, and celebrating the liturgical year with her young family on her blog. In her spare time, she enjoys running, gardening, coffee, and cookbooks, not usually at the same time. You can find out more about her here. She is the author of our Blessed Conversations: The Virtues study found here.