4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages[a] and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!9 Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture!10 But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.
11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.[b] All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
A few days ago, I posted about love. And today's lectionary reading from the Epistles was a continuation of that text. I have always found it interesting that Paul spends more time on what Love (divine love) is not. Divine love, like in my last post, does not need to demand nor justify itself. Divine love is clearly about these things: Patience. Kindness. Truth. Never gives up. Never loses faith. Hope. Endurance. Then in v.8, he brings it all home. What we do in this life, our stuff, our agenda, our gifts even, will one day become useless. And all that will be left is love. So if we haven't, or didn't, love well. It seems to me we might have a problem. Again, I think this whole love chapter is setting up a contrast between human love (other people are all about me getting what I want or need, or getting people to like me or affirm me, I need people to agree with me and accept me) to divine love (loving God and loving people is the purpose of living--divine love transcends human love and transforms our perspective). We might need to get serious about this love business. And v. 11, gets to the how. In short, we need to grow up. My therapist often reminds me that I am in fact a grown up. And I need to start choosing grown up behavior, rather than my internal five year old behaviors. We all have an internal rebel. The one that screams out loud when our way is blocked, or stopped, or intruded upon. But when we are adults, we need to start choosing better. And that needs both divine love to happen, and a good external source of truth input (counselor, mentor, therapist, etc). Someone that sees our behavior and says what it is. Not what we justify it to be. But what it is. Is it easy to have someone show us our true behaviors? No. Is it comfortable to be told we might be behaving like a child? Not at all. Is it necessary to do this work? Yes. Not because I said so, or even because I have been intentionally leaning into this work. But because it seems God has work to do in me, and maybe in you too. Combine truth with grace, and we are onto something.