Throughout our faith journey, we are continually reminded of all Christ does for us and all He went through for us...God's love and Jesus' love for us.
1 Corinthians 13, in the New Testament of the Bible, is one of the most loving, beautiful, inspiring, and relevant passages in the entire Bible. Its relevance lies in the very importance of relationships in our lives. God created us to be relational beings. Relationships are central to what it means to be human. Love is what makes relationships possible. Love binds people in relationships.
However, we are broken people. Sin has affected our relationships. They are not what they should be. There is distrust, pain, anger, misunderstanding, fear, and abuse. We are afraid of being hurt, so much so that we hardly let anyone, even God, see us with our guard down. Fear has kept us from true intimacy and from deep, satisfying relationships.
There are four words that are definitions of love as the ancient Greeks defined them:
• agape: often defined as the selfless, unconditional love that Christ embodied; a love that all believers should have for each other.
• phileo: brotherly love; that affection for and response to family and friends.
• eros: refers to the love, passion, and attraction between lovers; a romantic love.
• storge: used to describe the affection between family members; the natural love of parents and children.
Positive qualities of love. Love is:
• patient: understanding and accepting that we all are flawed people with weaknesses.
• kind: a kind heart goes the extra mile to show its love; when we show kindness, we give until it hurts.
• rejoicing with the truth: we are broken people and we deal with broken people; we rejoice knowing that God loves us and we can love each other.
• always protective: we are all afraid of betrayal and hurt; we need to feel safe as we open our hearts to others.
• always trusting: trusting people which allows us to open our hearts to others.
• always hopeful: we make mistakes, hurt others, and get hurt but we can trust in God's faithfulness and love.
• always persevering: when we are patient, kind, truthful, protective, trusting, and hopeful, our love can weather storms that seem impossible to preserve a loving relationship.
That's what love is. This is what love is not: envious, boastful, proud, rude, self-seeking, easily angered, keeps records of wrongs, delighting in evil. None of these things are love.
And then there is, of course, the kind of love that God showed us - the truest form of love when He sent Jesus, His son, to live among us. God then allowed His son to be taken, tortured, hung on a cross to die, and to be buried. Who else would do that for you? That, my friends, is love! Let us all love as God and our Savior, Jesus Christ, loves us!
Pastor Gary Liker
Grace United Methodist Church
Pequot Lakes, MN