Loving people is hard.

It’s hard when the people we love don’t love us.

It’s hard when the people we love try to love us and fail.

It’s hard even when the people we love love us perfectly. 

Love is hard because it’s valuable, the most valuable. Because it’s Who God is and, at the same time, who we ought to be. And because it’s the kind of thing that gets people killed.

Recently I heard Scott McKnight talking about Colossians… put on love which binds them all together… He said, “The essence of discipleship is producing people who love God and other people.”

He read Galatians 5:6 and I Corinthians 16:14…

faith expressing itself through love

do everything in love

And then he said, after a lot of reflection and study, he thought he had a good, helpful definition of love. He said:

"Love is a rugged commitment to be with someone and to be for someone unto kingdom reality."

And as I listened to him explain, I cried. 

I thought of my kids and our rugged commitment. Of them not at all perfect and me not at all perfect either. And of the way we make it work, me being patient with them. Them being patient with me. All of us stuck together—loving it (and then hating it and then loving it again).

I thought of my grandfather who was with me. Driving me around in his van telling stories, letting me tag along to Bible studies, asking me to be his “secretary” at the church during one long, hot summer, beating me in ice cream eating contests at an all-you-can-eat buffet… My grandfather was with me, physically right beside me.

I thought of my husband who is for me. Tweeting and sharing every blog post I write, finding a babysitter without ever even telling me when a work meeting of his might disrupt a night of work for me, cheering me on at the gym (without ever suggesting I might need to go to a gym), texting me every day to tell me I’m a #womanofvalor. My husband is for me. Rooting for me, seeking my best interests, and fighting on my side.

And I thought of my church family, loving me unto kingdom reality—always challenging me to be better, giving me opportunity after opportunity to teach and serve and grow, mentoring me and shaping me into the girl (okay, lady) God intends for me to be.

So many people have loved me like this. I pray I’d let their examples lead me into a love that is with, for, and unto. A rugged commitment resulting in the glorification of God our Father.