“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not [a]love [for others growing out of God’s love for me], then I have become only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal
[just an annoying distraction]. And if I have the gift of prophecy [and speak a new message from God to the people], and understand all mysteries, and [possess] all knowledge; and if I have all [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but do not have love [reaching out to others], I am nothing. If I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body [b]to be burned, but do not have love, it does me no good at all.
Love endures with patience and serenity,
love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious;
love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant.
It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered];
it does not take into account a wrong endured.
It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail].
Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening].
Love never fails [it never fades nor ends].
But as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for the gift of special knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part [for our knowledge is fragmentary and incomplete]. But when that which is complete and perfect comes, that which is incomplete and partial will pass away. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.
For now [in this time of imperfection] we see in a mirror dimly [a blurred reflection, a riddle, an enigma], but then [when the time of perfection comes we will see reality] face to face. Now I know in part [just in fragments], but then I will know fully, just as I have been fully known [by God]. And now there remain:
faith [abiding trust in God and His promises], hope [confident expectation of eternal salvation], love [unselfish love for others growing out of God’s love for me], these three [the choicest graces]; but the greatest of these is love.”
I Corinthians 13:1 – 13
I have been doing a lot of thinking over the last few days about the word ‘love’. Like thousands of couples, we used 1 Corinthian’s 13 :1-13 in our wedding, many years ago, to remind us to love each other in the way God asks us to love.
Love doesn’t mean conflict won’t arise, because lets face it, humans come with a lot of baggage. We often look at the situations in our lives through our hurt, disappointments, anger, and life experience lens’. Conflict can be sneaky and arise at times when we don’t expect it too, it can also sit under the surface and rear its ugly head from time to time, or it can come at us like a raging bull in an arena. Either way, the only responsibility we have is in the way we respond to the conflict.
If the most important response to our situations is LOVE, then we need to look at our situations as a challenge we need to work through. Situations may cause stress and upset, but we need to work through the stress and or upset to find a way to deal with the situation in love. Our response needs to always be in ‘love’.
If love is more important than having faith in God, and having hope in what’s to come, then we need to love people for where they are at. We may not agree with their choices or their decisions, but God grants us His love through grace, and we need to do the same for others. It is by God’s grace that we are saved. He loved US so much that He died on the cross for us. Learning to love others and putting the concept of love above all else front and centre, isn’t easy. For example, One has to bite their tongue to stop themselves retaliating to the nastiness of others at times. Being a Christian is easy at church, surrounded by fellow believers. It’s when we are out in the world living our lives, at work, or around people we know aren’t Christians, that matters.
Love is a verb. It is a doing word. Love isn’t just a feeling, its a response to life’s situations. It’s a response to the person scanning your groceries, the optometrist checking our eyes, or the receptionist at the doctors surgery helping to find you an appointment. It’s for our friends and for family. Loving people isn’t about being a push over, its about knowing who our identity is in. What God thinks of us is far more important than anyone or anything. He is the one who gives us life. If our identity is in God, then it doesn’t matter what mean words or mean actions come toward us. It’s not pleasant or easy to love some people at times, but if we remember to love people using God’s grace for them – eventually, it will be the weapon that brings them to Him.
1John 4:8 says that ‘God is love’, so we have to believe that through God we find what it is to be truly loved and accepted.
Love conquers all!!
or should I say…..God conquers all???