There is an unspoken, 'average' level of love and acceptance that I think is somewhat the standard in our culture. We are expected to generally believe the best in others and treat each other with respect and care. As soon as someone (be it a friend, family member, coworker, or whomever) does something to hurt you or truly disappoint you, nobody blames you if you distance yourself. Heck, we might even encourage you to do so because it will likely make your life easier not to deal with someone like that.
The Lord has placed many wonderful examples in my life for me to observe. I believe He intentionally placed many examples of 'above-and-beyond lovers' for the reason that love is the concept I struggle with the most.
I had the thought yesterday, "What if I did the unexpected thing and loved someone even more despite the fact that they have hurt me or disappointed me?" Well, of course I should! It is the most simple yet complex theme throughout the Bible, in my opinion. There are SO many examples of love, especially of love shown in times when it would not be the easy choice of action.
God has called us over and over in the Bible to go above and beyond the standard in loving others:
We are not only not to murder, but we are also not to be angry with one another.
We are not only not to hit back, but we are also to turn the other cheek to the one who strikes us.
We are not only not to steal, but we are also not to envy what others have.
It's just a higher standard.
We will, of course, never be able to live up to that standard perfectly. I constantly have to remind myself, however, that I don't need to settle in a comfortable love for others. It is comfortable to distance myself when I have been hurt, to suspend a friendship when the other person continues to live in lies and inauthenticity, and to scuff off at a frustrating and strained relationship. It might be comfortable, but it is not the full life I've been offered through Christ.
His rules, as radical as they may seem in the moment, were designed for me to have life to the full. I'm only settling when I choose to love half-heartedly. I hope that I remember that in the moments when it gets hard.