Love is an act of the will… a desire to put others’ happiness first, before your own. Divorce makes love almost impossible because most of the time at least one spouse is looking out only for his or her own “happiness.”
This must have been very difficult for people in Jesus’ time to hear and accept. It is difficult for me to hear and accept, and I have been hearing it since I was little. These teachings of Jesus were really quite revolutionary and certainly contrary to what had been taught before. It’s clear to see that Jesus was trying to explain to people what love really is. His definition is still contrary to what society wants us to believe love is – passiveness, allowance of deviant behavior, fluffy feelings. But Jesus tells us that love is none of these things – love is hard, love is difficult, for even when we have been unjustly treated, we must still wish for the good of the one who has hurt us. Even when we are understandably angry, we must still serve the needs of the one who has mistreated us. We must set aside our own feelings and seek the good of others no matter what.
In doing so, we will be rewarded, Christ promises us. But when eternity seems so far off, and the hurt we are enduring seems to be so real and unbearable, it is difficult to persevere in love for those who hurt us. That is why prayer is so essential. Prayer is what will keep us connected to Christ, the Vine, and His grace will sustain us in our trials.
But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. – Matthew 5:44