"Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away." -1 Corinthians 13:8 (ESV)
Love is a wonderful thing. Whether it's love for a significant other, love for a friend, a family member, or a pizza topping, the more we love, the better the world seems to us. But what is love? When we say that we love a person, what are we really saying? If you haven't been reading along, I have been writing about what love is according to 1 Corinthians 13 for the past couple weeks. I have been going through each adjective used in the passage, and explaining what each of them means. If you have not, I would like to encourage you to go back and read the previous articles.
Love believes all, as we are told in 1 Corinthians 13:7. This does not mean that we believe every little thing that others tell us. Acts 17:11 speaks highly of those who searched the scriptures daily to make sure that everything they were being taught was true. But this is speaking of giving the benefit of the doubt. Yes we should be able to tell when someone is lying, and we shouldn't follow what everyone says blindly in any aspect, but when someone you love says something, you are more entitled to believe them than someone you don't love, right? You are more willing to trust others, and that's important. How can we as Christians show others that we are of noble character if we trust no one, even those we love? How can we love someone without trusting them?
1 Corinthians 13 also claims that love hopes all things. When we love someone, do we want them to succeed? Do we hope that they get that good grade, or get a call for that job they've been trying to get? When we love someone, we hope that all is well with them. We don't hope that they get sick, we don't rejoice when something bad happens to them. Why is it that so many Christians hope and pray that bad things happen to other Christians just because that person rubs them the wrong way? Why is it that hating others is so easy, and that when we don't particularly enjoy the presence of some people, we hope that horrible things happen to them, and are happy when they do?
Love also endures all things. Do you have that one friend who just annoys you with every word that comes out of their mouth? Or what about that one who always seems to need help, but then when you need them they're suddenly super busy? How easy is it to get irritated and impatient with these kinds of people? Instead, we should lovingly talk to them about the issue we have, and move on. Nothing is worth the horrible feeling of hating someone. Not that we should tolerate sin, but we should abhor it according to Romans 12:9. But we should tolerate people (not actions), and we should appreciate them, and not look for ways and reasons to be angry with them. We must remain patient.
Love never ends. If you look at John 6:64, the Bible says, "'But there are some of you who do not believe.' (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who would not believe, and who it was who would betray Him.)" Something I noticed about this verse is that Jesus knew that He would be betrayed by Judas, and yet He still loved him. Jesus knew all along what would happen, and yet he did not have hate, or anger towards anyone. Jesus's love didn't end, even when He knew that Judas would betray Him. His love did not die for Peter when Peter denied Him three times. His love doesn't end for us even though we are the very reason that He was on that cross. Our love is to be like that of Jesus, as it should never end no matter what. Even if we don't hang around some people anymore, even if some people despise us, that doesn't mean that we have to stop loving them.
Today, I would like to encourage you to ask yourself if this is you. I would like to ask you to consider what 1 Corinthians says for yourself, and to study them with an open heart, and an open mind. I would also like to challenge you to think of one person who you don't particularly like, and spend some time with them. Buy them a small gift, take them out to a movie, do something that shows them that you love them. It's a challenge, yes, but it's good for us all to practice loving those who we may not particularly enjoy spending time with. Besides, Christianity isn't supposed to be easy, otherwise it wouldn't be so wonderful.