I Deserve Love

I’ve seen an interesting photo on Facebook a couple of times in recent days:


In case you can’t see it, I’ll summarize. A woman told her daughter who had a crush on a classmate to replace the word “love” in 1 Corinthians 13 with his name instead. The girl found out her crush wasn’t very kind and reevaluated his crush worthiness. The mom also has been teaching her daughter to use her own name in place of love to learn how to become the right type of person for someone else to like.

I don’t know who took a photo of the text, but I found out that it is indeed by Diane Stark, and it appeared in the Feb/March 2015 issue of Thriving Family, which is described as “a Christian marriage and parenting magazine from Focus on the Family.”

Focus on the Family. I feel like I betrayed my principles by trying the exercise for myself.

Mariam is patient. (No, she’s really not.)

Mariam is kind. (Um …)

I was reading the Amplified version of the Bible, so I eventually gave myself a pat on the back for not rejoicing at injustice and unrighteousness, but being happy when right and truth prevail. But getting zero points until then made me think, “Wow, I’m failing here. No wonder I don’t have a partner.”

But after another day of contemplating, I realized the girl in the story could have seen her crush in a bad moment. She doesn’t know the whole story; what if what she really saw was him defending himself or acting out because of things going on at home? And even if she witnessed behavior that was more nature than moment, that didn’t mean her crush didn’t deserve love.

Now I think the little girl, and some grown girls, need a slightly different lesson. It’s not that I or we as human beings shouldn’t try to get better. It’s that I realize I am worthy of love—perfect, unconditional love—even when I’m not patient or kind. Even when I boast or envy. Even when I’m confused about right and wrong. Even when I fail.

I deserve love. And other imperfect people do, too.

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