I often read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7* and think “I need THAT kind of love” and it’s usually in the context of my role as a parent. THAT kind of love is pure and perfect, of which I am neither. I often have no patience with my children (anyone else feel me on this one?) but the word of God doesn’t give us clauses, only the command that love is all that matters. He even spells out what love looks like for people like me and I need a constant reminder of what THAT KIND OF LOVE looks like:
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.
I try to imagine what my life would look like, what I would look like as a mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend if I loved with a 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love. I would be the best mom, wife, daughter, sister, and friend! Although in my mind, I must admit, THAT kind of love seems out of reach and impossible. However, according to Romans 6, I am to walk in newness of life, and I must consider myself dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. I understand grace but the goal is to hope to attain a 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love. I may not see how I can give that perfect love, what is important is that I try. I have to understand that THIS kind of love is non-negotiable.
It is made very clear that love is ALL THAT MATTERS. When I read verses 1-3, this is how I read it:
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal: LOVE IS ALL THAT MATTERS
2 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: LOVE IS ALL THAT MATTERS
3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, I gain nothing: LOVE IS ALL THAT MATTERS
In a nutshell, NOTHING matters but love. You can have everything, but if you don’t have love, it’s all pointless. Scripture can be a little confusing sometimes, and sometimes the way we interpret what it means causes great divides and controversy but there is no denying the clarity of decree in 1 Corinthians 13. It doesn’t matter what I have, if I don’t have love, I have nothing.
*The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016
*Featured image made with wordswag