In one of the most powerful and poetic chapters of the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13, the apostle Paul describes the sort of love Christians are meant to embody:
'Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.'
Longsuffering heads the list, and I think that's significant because to love freely and consistently in the other ways Paul names requires a readiness to go the distance. We can't reserve our love for certain situations or special people, and we can't withdraw it when people disappoint or fail. Longsuffering is both a prerequisite and the bottom line.