“Now faith, hope, and love remain — these three things — and the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 (CEB)
I always liked 1 Corinthians 13, and I still do. Yet, when my husband and I were married, I was adamant that we would not have it read at our wedding. Instead, we chose 1 John 4:7-11 because it talked about God’s love and how we love because God first loves us. Maybe it’s because I hear the 1 Corinthians passage read at weddings all the time, so I didn’t want to be like so many others who choose the passage because they think it applies to marriage.
Actually, this passage is far more about God’s perfect love and how we can live in that love in all our relationships. Just think if the world followed the teachings from that chapter! We would have care and concern for our brothers and sisters in the human race; we would treat each other with respect and kindness; we would listen to each other, be patient with each other, and work together to make all things harmonize.
When there was dissension, we would find ways to communicate with love and find ways to work through the issues to bring resolution. Our interactions with others and throughout the world would be about working together instead of fighting or being out only for ourselves.
I am writing this on the day after the U.S. election. There are many people who are happy today and many who are angry and sad. Division has marked our lives for a long time, including all the campaigning and mud slinging that went on with this election. But we aren’t going to undo what has been decided, so we have to look to Christ and the description of God’s perfect love that is so beautifully shared in this chapter.
As followers of Jesus, we are called to take the path of love, and sometimes it’s tough love – other times it’s joyful expressions of our care for someone else. In this case, it seems to me that some of us are being challenged to persevere in the face of challenges that face us in the coming years. Others may need to call themselves to accountability for gloating or being arrogant about their candidate winning (or the other candidate losing).
Whatever “side” we are on, may we find ways to live faithfully in spite or because of where we stand with or against someone. I know this is vague, but when I take stock of how I’m feeling, I know that what I most want is for us all to get through the storm and find ways to care about each other and minister to each other with the love of Christ.
Where can you be a peacemaker, no matter where you stand on issues?
How does the description of God’s perfect love in 1 Corinthians 13 help you to find ways to live that defy the prevailing attitudes in our culture?
In what ways will we claim our priorities of “God first” in our lives to make our world a better place? How will you love with God’s love?