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What Kind of Love?

Shut your eyes for a moment. Think of a room in your house…

Now imagine that love is in that room. What does it look like? A paper heart or something real and alive? Is it just a feeling, or is it shown by actions?

Guess what I imagined. I thought of our kitchen—and my mom baking muffins for our breakfast. We know our moms love us by what they do, don’t we?

Love makes us feel cozy and comfortable inside. But is it comfortable to love? Not always. It might be easy to say some nice words when we are feeling good. But true love shows by suffering. Think about it. Suffering is not fun. I don’t like pain and trouble. I don’t like doing hard things. Do you? But suffering is needed in life. If no one worked for you, would you have food to eat or a house to live in? If no one cared for you when you were a selfish little baby would you still be alive? No. The people that suffer for you are the ones that really love you.

What about you? Do you love anyone very much? Think about your mom. When she has extra work to do, do you go off to play or offer to help her? Or your brother. I’m sure you don’t always get along or agree. But do you love him enough to bear up with him—or do you argue and fuss? Your love is shown by how much you are willing to suffer for others.

What is the greatest love of all? The one that suffers the most! Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lays down his life [is willing to suffer death] for his friends.”* (John 15:13) What is the worst thing to suffer from? Sin causes you to be miserable here, and to be in torment after you die. That’s more suffering than you can imagine! But when Jesus died on the cross, He was showing us the greatest love of all. He suffered to set you free from the pain of sin and death. So will it be enough to say “I love Jesus” in return? No. If you truly love Jesus, it will show by suffering, too. It will show by giving up your own way to please Him, and by loving Him more than anything else. It is not easy to obey all the time, is it? It hurts to tell the truth when it will get you into trouble. It is humbling to be sorry when you’ve done something wrong. But will you do those things if you love Jesus? Yes!

What kind of love is in your heart today? Are you living to make others happy no matter how hard it is—or just thinking how to make yourself comfortable? I hope you want to get God’s kind of long-suffering love. It is the only kind that counts!