When we tolerate lies we invite an environment where danger breeds. The most dangerous (and hardest to root out) are the lies we tell ourselves. Usually we do this because we are focused on what we want (and often feel strongly that we need) to the point we close our eyes, stick our fingers in our ears and sing loudly to keep from having the most obvious truth enter our hard little heads. No where are we more guilty of this than in our relationships whether in seeking life partners, or as we travel from child to adult child in relationship to a parent, or as we deal with our own children.
So here is a little test that tells you if you are (1) being loving and (2) being loved. While we have NO CAPACITY to make anyone love us (please reread that if it seem odd to you, because it is the gospel truth), we have, by the Grace of the Spirit of God, great capacity to grow in being loving. So consider this:
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, it is not selfish, and it cannot be made angry easily. Love does not remember wrongs done against it. Love is never happy when others do wrong, but it is always happy with the truth. 1 Corinthians 13:4-6
If you are not being treated with patience, kindness and trust, if your are being treated as an inferior person or less than a person, if you are the focus of anger for small mistakes or even made up stuff, if there is no deep and honest forgiveness and no simple happiness in a relationship IT IS NOT LOVE. It might be infatuation; it might be a crush; it might be enchantment, it might be lust, but baby, it ain't love!
If you are not being patient, kind and trusting, if your are belittling, demanding or controlling, if you are angry about things that have only happened in a conversation you had inside your own head, if you are constantly angry, manipulative and waiting for someones else to "make you happy", It IS NOT LOVE.
Love does not tolerate any kind of violence in a relationship: not mental, not physical, not sexual, not financial. Love takes a step back and is willing to release the relationship if it is causing damage to the parties. Love is also brave enough to keep praying for people in our lives and remains willing to engage in safe baby-steps to rebuilt trust, not because we need to be loved, but because we have God's love in us to pour out on others.
Almighty God, Loving Lord, thank You for loving us in ways that no human relationship can match. Help us to let You fill us with Love that we might be strong in loving relationships, kind in the face of anger, patient in the face of anxiety, grounded in the face of hate. Help me to be more concerned about how well I offer hope and model joy rather than what I am "getting" from Your children, my sisters and brothers, in this life. AMEN