Are you brave enough to love?

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
— Colossians 3:12-14

In this passage of scripture, the Apostle Paul is writing to the Church at Colosse about how to live a holy life.  It's found in a beautiful chapter that talks about keeping your mind focused on things that have eternal value (Colossians 3:2) and the importance of turning away from the life we once lived, by ridding ourselves of sins like evil desires, anger, filthy language and lying (v.7-10). 

Through Paul's letter, we're reminded that we are dearly loved by God and therefore, we should show love, compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and forgiveness to each other.  He tells us that over all these virtues we must "put on love", which binds them all together in perfect unity. 

Who doesn't want unity!?  Paul's elegant words make it sound so easy.  Just "put on love!"  But how the heck do we do that?

Personally, I've found that putting on love is often easier said than done.  Giving true unconditional love and opening your heart to receive love in return requires us to be brave.

Being honest may not get you a lot of friends but it’ll always get you the right ones.
— John Lennon

The older I get, the more I understand that true friendship is when you can trust someone to tell you the truth even when it might hurt.  It's when you love someone enough that, you tell them when they're wrong.  It's when you're brave enough to share the Gospel with your unbelieving friends.  

Most people have a harder time letting themselves love than finding someone to love them.
— Bill Russell

Let me talk to my single friends for a moment.....

You are worthy of love.  Don't second guess that for a moment.  Stop putting walls up around your heart.  I know, I know, you've been hurt before.  I know you're scared to open your heart up because you don't want to get hurt, but, you can't find love if you don't allow your heart to be open to it.  Be brave!  Let yourself love.  Know that you might get hurt (I hope not), but if it happens, that pain is preparing you for the special person God is preparing just for you.  No one is perfect, but there is someone who is perfect for you.  Love is about accepting that an imperfect person can make your life perfect.   

No relationship is all sunshine, but two people can share one umbrella and survive the storm together.
— Unknown

And to my friends who are married or in a relationship.....

Let me encourage you to "put on love" with each new day.  The enemy loves to cause division.  Don't let him win.  As Paul said, bear with each other and forgive, just as Christ forgives us. Relationships can be hard.  Your boyfriend or husband may disappoint you.  He may do something that causes your anger to rise to a point where you think whatever he has done is unforgivable, but in most circumstances, that's not true.  Don't allow your pride or preferences to overshadow your compassion, patience or humility.  Please don't misunderstand, I am not saying you should let someone mistreat you.  I am saying that even though he may hurt your feelings, say or do the wrong thing sometimes, if you know he loves you, then be brave!  Don't close off your heart. Give him the benefit of the doubt that he's not doing it intentionally.  "Always be humble and gentle.  Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other's faults because of your love." (Ephesians 4:2 NLT)

In this world of exstremes, we can only love too little.
— Rich Cannarella

I've heard people say that they loved someone "too much."  Have you ever heard this?  When I've heard this, the conversation was sometimes referring to a romantic relationship, but other times this was a response to why they let a "friend" take advantage of their generosity. I don't think it's possible to love "too much."  Yes, you can make wrong choices because you're blinded by your feelings or you can allow yourself to be taken advantage of because you didn't see the signs of an unhealthy relationship, but that's probably not because you loved too much. 

I can remember saying this in the past, but I've realized that it was actually because I was trying to fill a void in my heart and I thought that person was the answer. I didn't love them too much.  Instead, I didn't love myself enough.  I didn't love myself enough to walk away from an unhealthy relationship so I waited for the guy to break up with me.  Or I didn't love myself enough to have a heart-to-heart talk with friends who I allowed to take advantage of me.  I say "I allowed," because they could only take advantage of me because I let them.  I had such a need to be loved that I would pay every time we went out or let them borrow my clothes and never ask for them back.  There's nothing wrong with treating a friend or giving them your clothes, but in my specific situation, we had an extremely one-sided relationship.  But confronting them would have required being brave.  It would have meant having an uncomfortable conversation.  But that's what love requires!  I wish I had spoken up and maybe that person would still be a close friend today.  Who knows, but what I do know is that this whole world could use a little more love.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love.
— Song Lyrics by Hal David

I've got a challenge for you.  Let's be brave together and shower this world with a little more love. Download our free workbook and as you complete each activity, comment and share below or join our private Facebook Group, Loved and Blessed Ladies and share what you did!