When he had to define love, the apostle Paul spoke very little of its exterior manifestations, but referred to some of the hearts feelings and attitudes. And by “love”, he actually means the person with a loving heart.
Thus, he stated that love suffers all, it can believe everything, forgive everything, does not find joy in injustice. On the contrary, love rejoices in the truth. Love is not proud; it does not look for its own interest. So this is the picture of the loving soul. Yet these words are very hard to get, not because they are hard to understand, but rather because our mind is not used to thinking in this way.
Whose interests should love actually look after? A loving person should look for his neighbors interests. But what if one wants to go to a football game, another wants to go to a pub, and another one wants to go fishing. Which one of them should one please? Apostle Paul clearly did not say that we should follow everyones wishes, for that is not possible, but rather it speaks of a disposition of the heart, of a special attitude that we must have, that of not considering ourselves to be more special than others, to know that between yourself and your neighbor, you should choose your neighbor. Some may try to please everyone in order to cultivate their brotherly love; others may be merciful and charitable towards their neighbors; but all these suppose a lot of risks. Even if one wanted to give all his fortune to the poor, one day he may remain without a dime and then how would that person express his love?
Consequently his way of understanding agape love could no longer be practiced. As a result, all of a sudden, he can no longer help and love his neighbor. The one who listens to everyone and serves everyone may one day realize that peoples desires and habits are so different, that even if that persons intention is to help and love his neighbor, can end up in trouble and committing sins that he can no longer face. So how can we then obey Gods commandment to love our neighbor? Perhaps the best choice is to go to the very essence of it. The thing we can do anytime, anywhere, before loving, is to try not to hate.
The beginning of good is walking away from evil, perhaps. Before having love in our hearts, before cultivating it, we must get rid of all the evil living in it. This evil may include jealousy, vanity, the idea that we are better than our neighbor, thus how could he possibly tell us what to do, how could they teach us? So all the wickedness that is done with our thoughts and our will should be forsaken and cast out of our hearts. Whats more, forgiveness is the beginning of all the good things. The test of love is to love ones enemies. And who are these enemies? They might not necessarily be the ones breaking into our apartment, stealing our car, the ones attacking our country. Our neighbors may well be the people we despise, we dont like very much and dont really look up to them; people who upset us by their very own presence, by their very own word, by their way of being. The ones we want to get rid off, who bore us, the ones weve had enough of. When coming into the world, God forgave us for our betrayal, the one committed by our ancestors Adam and Eve. He forgave us for trespassing all his rules, for disobeying all his commandments given to us through the prophets, for not receiving His Son, for having crucified Him. He has forgiven us for everything. And we have to respond with the same type of love. We have to forgive because it is not an impossible thing. Its not impossible to forgive a sinner in front of us. Because God Himself has forgiven that person and this is the most useful type of attitude. This is the correct attitude we must have towards our neighbors. The only conclusion here is how will we respond to Gods forgiveness – by accepting it and applying it to ourselves and others, or not?