When I was a young girl, my grandfather began showing the early signs of dementia. Although the family helped wherever they could, my grandmother bore the bulk of responsibility for his care. Through all the stages of his decline, I watched as she lovingly endured his confusion, mild hostility toward her, his loss of memory, and finally, his physical downturn. After over half a century of marriage to him, she truly lived out what it meant to “bear all things” in love. This outward display of whole-hearted love greatly impacted me as a teenager and taught me a great lesson in commitment.
A commitment to love will preclude many difficulties in loving someone. When it becomes difficult to demonstrate love because of behaviors that are less than loveable, a commitment will remind us why we chose to love that person. We can “bear all things” because we are committed to loving them. (Again, a disclaimer: I am not talking about staying in an abusive relationship.)
Traditional marriage vows contain the words, “In sickness and in health,” meaning the love you pledge to your spouse will be consistent and committed; it will “bear all things.” Friendships also withstand the test of time when we are committed to loving a friend, despite our differences and the various life changes.
Some beautiful words of wisdom from the Word today detail specific ways to demonstrate whole-hearted love:
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2, NIV).
Humility (deference), gentleness (kindness, mildness), and patience (calm fortitude, quiet diligence) go a long way in bearing with one another in love. In fact, whole-hearted love cannot be fully expressed without these characteristics. Using commitment as the springboard and humility, gentleness, and patience as the stepping stones across the waters of love, we can “bear all things” and exemplify whole-hearted love as we are commanded in God’s Word.