I was talking to a man the other day who was celebrating his twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. It was fun because everyone could tell how much he loved his wife. He said something interesting to me. "You know, I love so many things about my wife, but there are those moments when she's not so lovable. There are some things that she does that don't make it so easy." Then he smiled and added, "But you know, I love her anyway." I looked at him and said, "That's right because you made a commitment to truly love her, and that's why you're here today!"
We all would love to have great relationships. We would love for our marriage to be like that couple's. How wonderful to have such a great home life! But his few sentences gave a glimpse of what that requires. His commitment to having a good relationship with his wife meant being committed to keeping his mouth closed in the difficult times when she wasn't so lovable. I can guarantee you that he could have easily said words in those moments that would have jeopardized his commitment. But he chose to look at all her lovely qualities, the things that he loved about her, rather than the hard things that tried to disrupt his love for her. A few negative things could not diminish the commitment of his love.
If you want good relationships, you're going to have to be good to people when they're not being good to you. The Scripture says, "Above all, have a fervent and unfailing love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins [it overlooks unkindness and unselfishly seeks the best for others]" (1 Peter 4:8). Yes, you're going to have to learn to overlook offenses. You're going to have to release anger and bitterness. You're going to have to walk in integrity when another person is not walking in integrity. That's going to take commitment. That's going to take restraint. But on the other side of that costly commitment of love is amazing blessing! You're going to get to enjoy relationships! You're going to get to enjoy things you would not have enjoyed before!
Jesus came to forgive us of our sins, and He also came to empower us to keep our commitment to loving relationships and our bond to our families. Commit yourself to the Lord, ask Him to fill your heart with His love, and love others as He loves you.