“We love because he first loved us.”
I John 4:19 (NIV)
We have lived in our house for just a few months, and the quirks are starting to show. One of the burners on the stove doesn’t work on the low setting. A piece of tile on the counter top is not glued in all the way. Several of the outlets in the bonus room were wired wrong, which means sometimes the electricity in that room works, and sometimes it doesn’t. And sometimes, if someone turns the water on in the upstairs bathroom, there is a high-pitched squealing noise in the pipes of the downstairs bathroom. This has even happened in the middle of the night, jolting me out of a deep sleep.
Before we moved, I was so ready to get out of our old house. I wanted to get into our new one so we could get away from the old house’s quirks. The faucet in the kitchen sink that didn’t work quite right. The place in the floor where the linoleum had buckled by the back door. The neighbors that were loud. When we first moved into this house, I thought I had escaped all of those annoying traits. And I had. I just hadn’t counted on all the new ones that would pop up in the new house! I had counted on perfection on the other side of the fence, forgetting for a moment that we live in an imperfect world–a place where quirks abound.
The thing about quirks is that they usually aren’t evident on the surface. You usually have to spend quite a bit of time, digging deeply to unearth the quirkiness of a person, place or thing. I didn’t see it in my brief walk-throughs of our house before we signed on the dotted line. It took living here for several weeks before they became evident.
The same is true with people. You usually have to spend day in and day out together before they let their guard down enough to show you their quirks; before they trust you enough to let you see who they really are. The trick is to keep on loving them after you get that glimpse, seeing their faults and failures, their insecurities and idiosyncrasies. Am I sticking a sign in the yard of my new house because I see some problems? Not at all. I realize that my house is bound to have quirks–some I can work through and some I will just have to live with.
The other night I went to the movies with an old friend who knows me, quirks and all. She and I have had moments of struggle as we have learned to accept each other’s quirks. Through the years, we have learned to laugh about most of them and talk about the ones that we just don’t get. As we sat together in the movies, I thought about how freeing it is to know and be known. To truly love someone is to embrace who they are, quirks and all. As we dig deeper and see what lies beneath the surface, we can choose to walk away or we can choose to stay, no matter what. While this might be hard at times, it is what God requires of us. Why? Because it is the kind of love He has showed each of us. As our verse for today says, we love because He first loved us. If He loves us, quirks and all, then He must want us to do the same, extending love in the same way we have received it.
Dear Lord, Thank You for loving me and all my quirks. Please help me to love others in the same way–extending grace and compassion like You do and seeing past their quirks. Help me to appreciate the people You have put in my life and to not look elsewhere for happiness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen .
James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” (NIV)
Psalm 19:12, “Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults.” (NIV)
Psalm 90:8, “You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.” (NIV)
© 2009 by Marybeth Whalen.