Loving those around us sounds easy, but gets complicated because we aren't perfect. We can hurt each other, and annoy each other very easily, often because we think it doesn't matter--they love us anyway. I keep running across Scriptures and Christian writers who stress that Godly love does enable us to love in spite of the hurts and hangups that are part of living life together. But what does it really mean to love like God? Too often we think of it as being longsuffering; overlooking things, tolerating things. And we are grateful that God puts up with us, such as we are. But look at the other side. God doesn't let us off the hook on His standards. He doesn't say it's OK to be mushy and tolerant of sin and irresponsibility.He isn't. I know too many families who think that "being there for their kids" means not upholding standards and values. I recall a bratty small cousin who dictated what and when he ate (I once saw his mom run to the store when he changed his mind in the middle of dinner); but when he developed diabetes his mom had to take control, and he became a much nicer kid to have around. God knows that we need to learn to live as responsible, mature adults, and sometimes He allows us to learn stuff the hard way. On our own, we can't love our friends and family as God does; we need His wisdom and His strength to say and do what needs to be done, gently, prayerfully, and firmly with love.
Last year, when our Life Groups began praying for our Blessing Lists, I had a dream or vision of a Narnia-type scene, with a lot of people, many of whom I recognized, but they were like super-Technicolor. I realized that I was seeing people that had been through the refining-fire process--all the annoying parts of their personalities were gone, and the good parts were now perfect. I got a glimpse of how good it will be to know the people we care about as God made them to be, and how much better and deeper even the most loving relationships can be in God's presence. C.S. Lewis once wrote that we have never met a merely mortal person--that everyone we meet was created to be a perfect, immortal being--but only in a right relationship with an eternal God.