“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And if 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.”
While I don’t think we’ll ever come close to tapping into our full capacity or potential to love, I do believe love is a journey, love is something that grows. Most importantly I believe that we’ll never learn to love anybody the way we should until we experience the Love that God has for us. We can’t give something we don’t have and if we’ve never experienced God’s love (He is love!) then we’ll never know how to love the poor, the lost, our friends, our families, our communities, our nation, and even our world.
I Cor. 3 goes on to say that love has these characteristics:
- Love suffers long and is kind
- Love does not envy
- Love does not parade itself
- Love is not puffed up
- Love does not behave rudely
- Love does not seek its own
- Love is not provoked and thinks no evil
- Love does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in truth
- Love bears all things
- Love always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres
- Love never fails
I think often we hear these things and think that is nice and I’ll rehearse those versus at my wedding and everyone will think I know what love is! If I were to be honest with you, I think I am just starting to tap into (only touching the surface) of what true love is. It’s one thing to quote a scripture, it’s an entirely different thing to live it.
It’s easy to love someone when you get something in return and everything is going alright. It’s hard to love when we get nothing in return and perhaps, frankly, the other party doesn’t deserve to be loved (the poor, the lost, someone who hurt us, our families, etc.). When these opportunities present themselves in our lives, I believe they are some of our first opportunities to love.
It’s when we realize that when we didn’t deserve to be loved and even though we deserved to go to Hell, God chose to love us. In fact, the Bible says that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Thought I’m not going in depth on that, that is a love I cannot comprehend or understand.
If you want to experience a love that suffers long and is kind, does not envy, does not parade itself, is not puffed up, does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked and thinks no evil, does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in truth, bears all things, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres, and never fails then you need to run straight to the feet of Jesus. It’s only when we’re willing to lay down our lives and all that we are: our faults, failures, dreams, and desires at His feet that we’ll experience His love. And I would submit to you, until we’ve experience love (God) we’ll never truly know how to or have the ability to truly love anyone else.