Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.
It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Many Christian couples have this reading from I Corinthians 13 as a part of their wedding ceremony. These words describe the kind of self-giving, self-sacrificial love that keeps families together.
But, this passage is more than that - much more!
We may read this passage and ask ourselves, "How am I doing? Do I truly love my spouse, my kids, my friends, my co-workers, and people in general?" Our answer would probably be, Yes, we love people. So, we're ok...we passed the test.
But then another question came to me... Am I love? Not, Am I loving? Beyond just acting in loving ways to those around me, am I actually LOVE the way Jesus is?
The Bible says that God is love. It also tells us that Jesus and His Father are one, which means that Jesus is love. And we are told to abide in Him, dwell in Him, just be in Him until it can be said of us, We are love.
So, now let's read this passage with new eyes. Let's substitute "I" for "love" in every verse. Then it will read this way:
I am patient; I am kind; I am not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.
I do not insist on my own way; I am not irritable or resentful;
I do not rejoice in wrongdoing, but I rejoice in the truth.
I bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, endure all things.
WOW! That puts a whole new perspective on it, doesn't it?
To sum it up, Jesus' love has no end. It never runs out. His love for us is limitless. That love took our Savior all the way to the cross. That love defeated death and opened eternal life to all who believe! And we are called to be that kind of love!
Let us pray: Dear God, Your love is amazing. We do not deserve to be Your beloved. But we are! Teach us to trust Your love more deeply. Then show us ways we can love others as You have loved us. Amen.