Wednesday, June 30, 2010

1 Corinthians 13

For those of you that aren't familiar or don't have a Bible handy, here's the chapter:

"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  

Love never fails.  But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
For we know in part and we prophecy in part,
But when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.  When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.
Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love."

I read this chapter this week, and the bolded part stood out to me (verse 10).  I had heard the "love is patient, love is kind" passage, as well as the last verse, but I had never read the entire chapter.  To me, verse 10 is the most powerful.  When perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.  This speaks to the cleansing power of love, and of faith.  No matter what we have wrong with us, or what wounds we have, love comes in and washes them clean, heals them until we are perfect despite our flaws.

This makes me think of marriage; how you can take two incomplete, flawed people, but once they find love and become a single unit, they are also suddenly complete individuals on their own.  I had never been able to find the words, but this verse has said it for me.  Love does not take away, it adds to us and fills gaps in our hearts.  If we have a relationship in our life that is chipping away at us, we know that it can't be love, not the pure, healing love that we all deserve.  The people in our life should heal us and lift us up, and we should do the same for them.  Love is not a game of give and take; if both sides are giving 100%, they are also gaining 100%.

I found this verse so moving, so I had to share.  It reminded me of the power of love, and the way I should be loving in my life.  So many times we are looking inward, trying to see what we can get from a relationship, when that attitude only hurts both parties.  I'll keep this chapter bookmarked in my Bible so I can take a minute every now and then to reevaluate myself and my relationships, and hopefully it will allow me to love more fully, and be a little more selfless.

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