In today’s society the idea of love is thought of as a warm fuzzy feeling that you have towards another person. That’s why we sometimes hear the phrase “I fell out of love.” But if you truly look at this idea of love you’ll see that it’s not always easy to love someone, and that it has to be a choice to love someone. Now, when I was younger I can guarantee that I wasn’t always Love able. And I’m glad my parents didn’t “fall out of love with me.” Because there were plenty of times that they could’ve just said: “Ehh Carl’s being a brat today and I don’t feel like loving him.” But they didn’t. Love involves choice. They chose to love me no matter what, and I’m glad they did. Since they chose to love me no matter what, they punished me when I did wrong, and my dad used his belt when I was being a brat. I can still hear my dad before he spanked me say; “Son, I’m doing this because I love you.” And at the time I associated that phrase with a spanking, and knew after he said those words I’d hear a belt flying through the air. I never thought I’d say I’m glad he spanked me, but I am. Because it DID show that he loved me. He made a choice to love me even when it was hard for him to love me.
In 1 Thessalonians 1:3 Paul is telling the Church at Thessalonica that he was “thanking God for their Labor of Love.” Sunday morning in the teen class at Bear Valley Brett Petrillo asked us what we thought that meant, and I was completely lost. But then Brett goes on to explain that “Laboring in Love” is strenuous work.
It’s not going to be easy to love someone when they’re making it hard for you to love them. It’s hard to love someone when they’re gossiping about you, it’s hard to love someone when they let you down, it’s hard to love someone when you trust them and they break your trust and hurt you. This is when love becomes a labor. Love isn’t easy, and a relationship with anyone takes work. You have to make up in your mind that you will love that brother, parent, friend, girlfriend or boyfriend, spouse, and any other relationship you have. So the question becomes, how do we love someone when they are being unloveable? This all starts with speech.
You have two options when someone hurts you or let’s you down. First you can cut off all ties and treat them as an enemy, or second you can keep your words kind and show them the Love that Christ showed us while we were living in sin. (Rom. 5:8) For some it’s easier to show this sort of love, just because they’ve been on the other side of things. They’ve hurt someone, and they’ve experienced this Laboring Love from the person they hurt. I’ve experienced this, and I’m sure many other people have too. But if you think about it, we’ve all experienced this kind of Laboring love. God sent His Son to die on the cross for us when we were dead in our sins. That is the ultimate example of a Laboring love. If we as Christians are to act like Christ, then that makes us obligated to Labor in love with the person that hurt us. Paul said that he was “Thanking God” for their labor in love. Having this kind of love is worthy of thanking God for. Let’s make it our goal in life to Love the unloveable, and keep our words and actions towards others clean and Christ like.