“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,but have not love, it profits me nothing.
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. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13 (NKJV)
One of the benefits of aging is I just “get it” now. For decades I’ve been drawn to certain books, articles, and sermons. It’s only now that I’m getting it. It’s only now that I’m fully understanding what it is to love the unlovely, to turn the other cheek, to love without demanding anything in return, to love knowing that I will be rejected and misunderstood.
Truly, love is what it’s all about. God sent His son to live, die, and come back to life because He loves us. He wants us to reach out to the sick, the hurting, and the lost because He loves. I love Him BECAUSE He first loved me. Love…could it be that simple? I think so. I think loving our God, ourselves, and others may be our ultimate calling. Simple, but not always easy.
Luke 6:32-36 (ESV) says, “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”
It’s usually easy to love those who love us, are good to us. Think about those who ignore or reject you, those who exclude you, those who hurt you…can you love them? Yes, you can. Recently, I wrote about a woman who has repeatedly and intentionally made my life unpleasant. You can read about it here.
It was a long and often painful process. I finally learned I couldn’t change her mind about me, but I could love her. Love is not a mere emotion …. Love is a choice. It’s a verb. It’s something you choose to do again and again and again. Now, please understand I do not hang out with her. I do not seek her out. I do not even especially like her. (God’s girls can love those they don’t like!) But I pray for her and her family. I wish her well. I am kind to her. Why? How? Friends, it took time, but the answer to both is Jesus. I want to be like Him. He loves her, despite her sins against me. He loves me, despite my many, many, MANY failings. In His Word, He tells me to love and to forgive, so how could I not?
Lots to ponder today….As always, I wish you MUCH joy! Please share your struggles with loving. Please also consider subscribing to my blog and inviting your friends to do the same.
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