Friday, December 30, 2011

Love. It Hopes.

We've all read 1 Corinthians 13 probably a gazillion times. Probably could quote it if you needed to. But just in case....
1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
 4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
 8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Sometimes the repetition of it causes it to seem mundane. It being love. Sure, sure, love is the "christian" thing to do. Yeah, I obey the law, I'm a good person, I give back, I'm honest, and above all I walk in love. Yep, check that off my good girl list.

Reading it today though. It seemed to mean much, much more. More then just doing what is right. I've often read that chapter and put the Father's name in the place of the word "love." You know, God is patient, God is kind, God never fails...

Isn't it wonderful that He never calls us to a standard that He, Himself does not meet? I love that about Him. He is love and all those things.

But today I remember that, yes God is love, but this chapter is written to me, the believer. I am called to love. Now that I have such a clear definition of what love is, that it is, in fact, more then just doing the "christian thing," I am, let's just say, humbled. Good Ole Paul, never one to mince words.

If I do not have love, I am nothing.

Nothing? If I do not have love I am nothing? For how long do I have to have love? At what point do I get to be not in love? How much bad can happen before I can get out of having to love. Love does not sound fun to me. Right? You've read the chapter. At what point do I get to say, "Nope sorry, that's enough of hurting me. I do not have to love you any more. I do not have to be patient. I do not have to be kind.I do not have to forgive you or even tolerate you any longer."??

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

All things?! But that's not fair! 

Love, it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered.

Forever? Forgive everything? All the time? Every time? Over and over?


I think that to have to ask those questions is kind of beside the point. I mean if you have to ask why or for how long then it's not really love in the first place. To say that I just can't forgive or that I just can't take it any longer, that I can not endure this one more day, is to really not be love in the first place. We're not called to try to love. We're called to be love. To have it. To have it as He does and He is Love with a capitol letter.

Love hopes all things.

Love. It hopes. Love hopes. It hopes? Isn't it interesting how between words like "it bears, believes, endures" are the words love hopes all things? Love bears all things. It picks up all those broken dreams, disappointments, and discouragements and carries on, bearing it all with dignity, forgiveness, patience and kindness. Love believes. It never doubts or fails to trust. It always endures. Do you know why? Do you know how it is capable of doing such hard things? You've figured it out. Love always hopes. It's that hope of change that makes capable endurance.

God. Is. Love.

And so am I.