The letter you are about to read was written out of the deep desire of my heart to start living a life that loved like Christ loved. A few months ago, I was holding on to my own plans, hopes, and wants so tightly that I was hurting people close to me. However, God in His grace got a hold of my heart and something in me changed. As I started asking Him to help me, He started filling me with a desire to let go of my plans and preferences in order to focus on truly loving the people around me. The well of joy and blessing that has come from that journey has been overwhelming! While I certainly am not perfect, this is my prayer, my pledge, and my plea to God for moving forward in each of these relationships and with every person I encounter. I pray that it blesses you, encourages you, and spurs you on to join me in pursuing Jesus through the way we love each other!
For a while I thought I was loving you well, but I realize now how wrong I was.
I’ve been complaining loud about how this world is so divided. I’ve been venting and fuming about how people are so unkind and cruel. I’ve been selfishly angry for all the ways that I’ve felt denied and deprived.
I’ve been putting others down for not loving me—yet all the while, I’ve been neglecting loving you.
All the disunity—it exists right here in my own heart.
Dear Sister, I am so sorry. I know words could never heal the wounds I’ve caused in your heart. But when you’re ready, I would humbly ask that you find it in you to read these words.
First, I want you to know that I’ve asked God’s forgiveness for not loving you well, and I’ve asked Him to help me love you as He does from this day forward.
In His strength, enabling, and grace, this is my pledge to you:
Dear Brother, I will stego love you. 1 Corinthians 13:7 says “love bears all things”—and the English word “bears” is the Greek word stego. Stego means to protect or keep by covering, to cover over with silence, to hide the errors and faults of others, to endure, to roof over.
Dear Friend, I will be a roof for you. When you are having a bad day and make a mistake, when you lash out at me, when I’m the brunt of your stress—I will be a roof to protect you, to listen to you, and to hide everything but your very best (Proverbs 17:9).
Because I see who you are becoming—and it’s beautiful.
So I am done trying to get the upper hand, trying to justify myself, trying to make sure everything is fair, trying to pull you out of the shadows and expose all the things you don’t do perfectly.
We are all in the process of becoming. We are all growing, groaning, and stretching—longing, for the day when we will finally throw off the last of our flesh and be made perfect. I choose to see the glory-you, the part of you that is eternal.
Dear Momma, even when it’s hard, I am asking God that He will help me respond in kindness and forgiveness rather than anger, to give up my own desires for what brings you peace, and to use the freedom Christ has given me to love you instead of push against you.
I’m asking God to help me bite my tongue instead of lash out. To hold my silence so that I can hold your heart (Proverbs 17:27, 29:11).
Dear Sister, I will listen to you, weep when you weep, and laugh when you laugh. Because the other day when I called you? I told you all my raw heart-pain and you cried on your side of the phone. I don’t know how to tell you how much that meant to me—but somehow your tears of being there were all I needed to start healing and moving forward (Romans 12:15).
It’s been said that not loving is easier because then we can’t get hurt. But I say that loving is worth it because I get you—the real you—even when it hurts.
Yes, there are days when love feels more like a war zone, a funeral, a bullet. But I still choose loving you, and I’m asking God that He will help me see the world from your eyes. I want to cry with you when you cry, rejoice when you rejoice, and enter into your scope of vision so that I can understand you better.
Dear Dad, I will have confidence in you. I will credit you to others. I will anticipate the best in you. I will value your opinion, your feelings, your experience, your ideas, and your advice. I will respect you, and I will act in consideration of your input and feelings in the decisions I make.
Dear Brother, love endures all things (1 Corinthians 13:7). The Greek word for “endure” is hypomeno. Hypomeno means to remain, tarry behind, abide, and persevere. I will tarry behind for you. If you are struggling with something, I won’t run ahead and leave you in the dust. I will stay behind with you. I will help you carry your burdens until you can move past them. I won’t rush you or demean you for your struggles. I will encourage you, pray for you, and be your cheerleader. I will sacrifice my own desires in order to be sensitive to you—and I will do it joyfully.
Dear Friend, I will be honest with you. If I see you in a path of sin or if you have truly wronged me, I will humbly approach you after I’ve prayed to God for wisdom and kindness in my dealings with you (Matthew 18:15).
Dear Sister, I am asking God to give me a humble heart and turn my selfish passions into selfless compassion. I am asking Him to help me esteem you as more important than myself (Philippians 2:3-4). I am begging Him to tame my unruly tongue to be an instrument of peace instead of a weapon of war (Proverbs 12:18).
And while I am so thankful for the words “I love you,” I know that they are only words. I’m praying that my love will go beyond words, sweet gifts, and an article published on a Christian website. I’m praying that God will make me into a sacrificing lover—one who speaks love in deeds and truth (1 John 3:18). I yearn to be one who loves with the deepest passion—a passion that resembles the passion of our Christ.
And Beloved? When I mess up, I will ask that God will open my eyes and soften my heart to how I’ve hurt you—and I will remember to thank God that He’s given me you. Because of your honesty, I am able to grow. Because of your patience and forgiveness, I am able to get back up again after I fall. God is using your love to redeem me in all kinds of ways.
Dearest you, all of this is impossible for me to do in my own strength—and you, more than anyone, see my sinful failings. But praise be to God! He who is the greatest Lover has promised to work in me His kind of love…the love that only He knows how to live and die so divinely. And I am sure of His power to turn my wicked heart into something that looks more like His endless, unabated glory.