Love never gives up.
Love cares for others, more than self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always, "Me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies.
- 1 Corinthians 13 (The Message)
The fact that I used to read this passage as if I had it figured out leaves me speechless. Years I spent, bumbling around with the love of God, trying to apply it to my life and the lives of others in a severely inadequate way.
I could blame my lack of affect on those around me. I was hurt! There are scars! I couldn't love them! While the pain was real and the scars show it, maybe what was more to my detriment was thinking I could understand, fully, how to handle His love.
As if, really, I could get my hands around the deep.
I see now it is not for me to be a master of God's heart as much as I'm to be a channel for it. And wasn't this Christ's ultimate example? Only God, Himself, could show us how to be perfect channels of such a powerful force.
Arms up, head tilted back, and eyes shut. Couldn't this ... the receiving posture of worship ... be an echo of the posture of the Cross? Receiving the deep, the lasting, the dangerous, the redeeming love of the Father; carried perfectly through the Son; and rushed into the hearts of man by the Holy Spirit.
Now I read that passage and I am filled with a holy trepidation. Knowing how little I understand of the love of God, how much I need to grow in reveling in it; and how I cannot communicate what I have not experienced, and what does it mean when I see a lack of love-fruit in the lives of those around me?
And I can be rest assured that love does leave fruit. It does not leave people unchanged. There are signs when love is present, and signs too when love is absent.
May my life show the abundance? May I not forget the road of channel-love is a hard one, well worn by the feet of martyrs and murderers, of housewives and harlots?
May I keep my heart open? Never closed in deceptive self-protection. May I not attempt to hoard this love like day-old manna, and let it harden and grow stale inside me?
"There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give it to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket - safe, dark, motionless, airless - it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell."
- C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves