What Love Is.
Read 1 Cor. 13
It may seem like it happened this way. Paul was writing this letter to the Christians in Corinth. At the end of chapter twelve he paused and said to himself: “Hmmm. I guess next I’ll write something about love.” (Writing instrument re-directed to parchment).
No. Paul had been writing to the church about their immature and disordered use of spiritual gifts they were privileged to have. Those gifts became, in their childish hands, instruments of competitive envy and quarreling. What was needed was respect for God, submission to His purposes accompanied by the love Paul describes in chapter thirteen. This chapter is very much a part of the context of this part of Paul’s remedial letter to the Corinthians.
In verses 4-7, love is described in terms of the various products or actions. “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 working-doing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believe all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
Many years ago I witnessed a treasured used of this passage. I married couple were at odds and the threat of divorce was in the air. Several counselors had tried without good result to bring about reconciliation. Finally a preacher was brought in. He spent ten minutes with the couple, and they came out of the room ready to re-commit to their marriage and reconciliation was achieved by the grace of God.
What did the preacher do? He had them read 1 Cor. 13:4-7, out loud to each other. But with a slight paraphrase. He had them read the passage but with their name instead of the word “love.”
Can you imagine the impact. “Bob is patient and kind.” “Mary does not envy or boast.”
In tears they read to each other from God’s word with very direct, personal application. Both realized in those moments what was missing. Both had tender hearts. Both repented of their selfish attitudes. Both lived a good, long life married to each other, raising children and serving God.
It is so simple. Love is what is missing in so many relationships. I challenged you. Get you Bible. Go stand in front of a mirror. Read this passage and insert your name. How does that sound??