What happens in life and community when love directs the way we hold ourselves and look at others? I think it sounds easier than it is.

Love is a conscious and challenging pursuit and it is the founding principle and ethic of relationships and behavior amidst the Church community: Love one another…respect one another…forgive one another…bear with one another…encourage one another… be patient with one another believe and hope for one another… be generous with one another… be slow to speak and quick to listen to one another. Prefer one another before yourself. Practice hospitality, welcome strangers to your table, provide for those who are in need with no means to meet their own needs. Care for the sick and suffering – Pray without ceasing – give without receiving – forgive without resentment – love without condition.

All these instructions and many more appear in the letters to the early churches all commanding that the communities of the church were to practice the ways of love.

My hunch is, the prolific mentions of loving behavior in the New Testament testifies to the un-loving ways persons in the churches were behaving toward one another. The ways of love do not simply or naturally happen – Love is a choice among many in the way we choose to treat ourselves and others.