Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What true love looks like

1 Corinthians 13

13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

At how many weddings have you heard this read? How few people actually live by these words. I can think of one, of the top of my head. That would be my wife of nearly 27 years. I don't have to imagine or glorify, I have seen it with my own eyes.

I cannot count the times that I have seen her bear the unbearable, believe the unbelievable, hope for the impossible and endure suffering unimaginable. My wife is 1 Corinthians 13 personified.

Oh, if she only knew what she has taught me about life.

Forgiveness really is possible, even for the most unimaginable offenses. True love can stand the most violent storm and hope doesn't give up on someone even when they are so discouraged by their own failures that they are ready to give up on themselves.

Our protestant brothers and sisters say that one is saved by faith alone. That sure isn't what Paul says that even though you have all faith, if you do not have bearing, believing, hoping and enduring love you are nothing. All faith, all knowledge, all understanding are worthless if they are not animated by the fire of love.

That love is what lives on after the vanity of this world is burned off. Despite my remarkable ability to sabotage myself, I still have hope of salvation. A salvation wrought by Jesus Christ and a help-mate. Day after day, we take each difficult step, among the rocks and thorns, exhorting each other to press on, down that narrow road.

Thank you baby, for walking it with me. I know it hasn't been easy but there is no one else in the world that I could walk it with. That is just a fact.

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