Love. It's an action word. It's caring for a sick child or relative, it's taking meals to a new mom, it's serving where you are called to serve. We love in a million different ways when we put someone else's best interest before our own. We practice patience, we don't keep a record of past wrongs, we are kind, we endure all things. That's love.

Hurt is all the opposite of that. Most of our hurt is unintentional but we're still hurting others. We are careless with words, we think nothing of them but ears hear them and end friendships. Hurt is neglecting need, ignoring suffering, picking ourselves over someone else. Hurt endures nothing.

So which one wins? There is a postage stamp that says, "Love wins." It might be on t-shirts and posters as well. I don't think it really does. I think hurt wins most of the time. I think we're great at explaining to ourselves all the awesome reasons we have for letting broken things stay broken, for placing blame outside ourselves fixing nothing. Social media confirms this over and over and over again. It's full of people explaining why their hate is reasonable and looking for other people who confirm their judgement. 

So what about those long relationships? Families mostly. Which one wins? Does every loving thing I do get cancelled out by the hurtful, careless thing I do?  Is love an illusion? Can humans really love if we are just as capable of hurt? People let people down. That's just normal. People who love will inevitably be people who hurt. 

Maybe what's messed up is that we decide which battles we will let love win and which we will allow to remain in ruin. We give forgiveness (we give mercy and mercy is love) only when we choose and we withhold forgiveness when we choose. 

No matter where my heart is, I can't decide which parts of me people choose to remember. I can't make my kids remember only good things. They very well might only remember all the bad things and then what? 

Hurt wins.