And the Greatest of These is Love

Our church is going through a sermon series on the book of Corinthians.  It’s been a great in depth look so far and by combining it with our small group studies during the week, I really have been learning a lot.

Our pastor covered chapter 13 tonight, which is often called The Love Chapter.  I have heard these verses so often, especially at weddings.  My husband and I chose to have it read at our wedding.  There is an hysterical scene in The Wedding Crashers where the two main characters are trying to guess which bible readings will be read at a wedding and 1 Corinthians 13 is one of the ones they throw out as a possibility.

 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.

These are such beautiful words, but sometimes when we have heard things so many times, we can gloss over what they really mean.  Our pastor tonight said that Paul didn’t mean these verses to act as a checklist for us.  We don’t need to do all of things things in order to show love.  I sometimes wish that I was a more loving person.  I mean, obviously I have no problem loving my kids or my husband, but I am not really a compassionate person naturally.  I know that I need to work on loving others.  So when Paul lists these attributes of love, it is tempting to say, “Okay, I’ll work on being more patient and not being so self-seeking.”

However, that’s not really what Paul is getting at here.  If we have the love of God in our hearts and if we truly accept the fact that God loves us no matter what, we will be able to show that love to others in turn.  When we show love to others, then all of the characteristics that Paul lists will come to fruition.

 In verse 13, Paul says “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”  Even when we are in heaven, and there is no longer a need for faith and hope, love will still remain because that is the very nature of God.  Do I accept that fact?  Do I truly know that God loves me despite all of my faults and craziness?  My head certainly knows it.  My heart clearly has some catching up to do.

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