I Corinthians 13: 1-9 (The Message Translation)
13 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
2 If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
3-7 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Growing up in the church this is one of those verses that completely lost any real meaning for me. To such a degree that I flat out refused to even consider this classic verse for my wedding. For a long time I would scoff at this verse because to me it had just become a bunch of empty words full of fluff.
Then a sermon my husband delivered and one that I read before he delivered it on Sunday Morning really made me reconsider this old verse. It made me put away my disgust for this verse and really consider what it meant. If you wish to hear his sermon for yourself you may do so here.
So I really began to think about these words and as I did I began to search for this kind of love in the world around me. While these scripture verses have been very commercialized and plastered all over Valentine’s Day Cards and used for weddings everywhere it looked as if no one really stops to consider what these words mean. Just scrolling through social media, reading the news, or taking a look at our communities it has become clear our world is in desperate need of love.
This is especially true in some Christian communities we see. So many believers have become so consumed with the rules in the Bible, the history of the Bible, measuring their faith, doing works that they left love unopened in its box at home. This has created churches who tell people they aren’t good enough for God or that because of this or that action that they don’t really believe. It’s become a battleground where if anyone doesn’t believe the same as us then they must be lying about their faith. Never mind that maybe they just read the scriptures differently. Never mind it is clear we are not to judge anyone. Judging is for God only. Only he knows the hearts of those around you, not us.
Lack of love is the problem with the church today. We have become so involved and obsessed with what should be believed that we forget to look at the people standing in front of us with love. We are supposed to love the homeless person when they walk into church. Offer them food and warm clothes. When someone of a different sexual orientation walks through the doors we aren’t supposed to judge and condemn but love them. When we see cruelty and injustice happening before our eyes we are supposed to help them the best way we can as God would do for us even if it costs us something valuable. Doing the right thing even when there is nothing in it for you is the kind of love this world desperately needs right now.
So this week as you move through each day ask yourself what is the loving thing to do? The answer to this question will vary and may go against what your first instinct, but love isn’t supposed to be easy. It’s difficult and if done right will stretch you and grow you as person. Open your heart and eyes and try to choose the loving action in whatever you do. It may not seem big or important but it’s often the smallest ripple that can make huge life altering change.
Lord, help me to see the world as you do. Change and mold my heart to be what you need it be. Use me to show your love to those who desperately need it right now. Help me choose the loving option even when it is hard. Help me to let your love shine through me and show the world what you really are all about. Help me be that loving person you need me to be. Amen.