When I first held baby Cully May the morning after she was born I didn't want to let her go.
For an hour in Blossom's hospital room I cradled her in my arms and rocked her to and fro, crooning my love for this precious new life our family now beheld.
But the next day I was not crooning. I was groaning.
My arms ached, my shoulders throbbed, and my back complained with every twist and turn. It had been two decades since my arms had held a baby for so long and my body was now reminding me of the sad state of my 'mama' muscles.
In the three months since her birth I've regularly cuddled and carried Cully May around in my arms and as she's grown into a chubby little munchkin, so too have the muscles in my arms and back grown and strengthened from the repetition of bearing her weight for those short periods of time. This means I no longer ache the next day and can enjoy her squirming and smiling in my arms.
I've found the same 'muscle growing' technique works when applied to LOVE, especially the kind of love that does not come easily.
I used to think this verse meant putting myself face to face with someone who had caused me harm and showing them love, but over time I've softened towards myself.
Funny that, we're often kinder to others than ourselves - the compassionate advice I'd give to another is not always the loving advice I would have given myself. Thankfully the Lord changed my heart.
Walking in love when someone has hurt you is not putting yourself in their path - in fact, sometimes it may be putting yourself right out of their path.
It's forgiving them, praying for them. It is asking God to change anything within you that needs to change, anything in you that isn't like Jesus. It's looking over your life at every bad thing you have ever done (and if you're like me that list will just go on and on and on and on, so after a while you stop 'cause you get the point) and acknowledging that Jesus took the punishment for EVERY single bad thing so that God could forgive you.
He shed His blood, you shed tears.
You did bad, He took the punishment.
Someone hurt you, He took their punishment too.
He LOVES you. He LOVES them.
Let it go, walk in love, as Christ loves you.
The more you let go, the more you choose righteous love, the bigger your love muscle grows.
The bigger your love muscle grows, the more like Jesus you become.
The more like Jesus you become, the less people can hurt you.
The less people can hurt you, the more love you have to help others.
You know, God's ways aren't the world's ways. He does things completely different.
Love your enemies? The world will tell you that's plain stupid.
But Jesus didn't kill His enemies.
He let His enemies kill Him.
And because of that He won back the keys to death and hell.
Because of that you and I need never be separated from Him, but shall spend eternity with Him in Heaven, if we have chosen Him as our Lord and Saviour.