The Way of LoveMay 12, 2021
A verse of scripture has been dancing around in the back of my mind for a while: “God is love” (1 John 4:8). Profoundly simple, right? God could choose any word he wanted to describe himself, and the word he chose is love.
Love is paradoxically simple and complicated. I do not fully understand all the intricacies and dynamics of love, but I do know that in 1 Corinthians 13, Paul does a great job of giving us a peek into the heart of love. Phrase by phrase he paints a picture of what love is and what it isn’t.
Awhile back I spent time reading this passage in two different translations, just to soak a bit. I then added my personal paraphrase, which I offer to you here so that you also might reflect on love, remembering who God is and what God is like.
The Way of Love (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
For each line, the first phrase is the NIV, the second is the Message, and the third (in parentheses) is my application.
- Love is patient. It never gives up. (Keeps trying. Doesn’t walk away.)
- Love is kind. It cares more for others than for self. (Not me, me, me. See others.)
- Love does not envy. It doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. (I already have what I need.)
- Love does not boast. It doesn’t strut. (True humility. Seeing myself rightly.)
- Love is not proud. It doesn’t have a swelled head. (Seeing myself in light of God’s grace.)
- Love does not dishonor others. It doesn’t force itself on others. (Not pushy. Not against. Let go.)
- Love is not self-seeking. It isn’t always “me first.” (Take my turn in humility.)
- Love is not easily angered. It doesn’t fly off the handle. (Listen first, not anger first.)
- Love keeps no record of wrongs. It doesn’t keep score of the sins of others. (Drop my rocks and walk away.)
- Love does not delight in evil. It doesn’t revel when others grovel. (Empathy with others’ low points.)
- Love rejoices with the truth. It takes pleasure in the flowering of truth. (Loves what is real.)
- Love always protects. It puts up with anything. (Super long fuse.)
- Love always trusts. It trusts God always. (Focus is in the right place.)
- Love always hopes. It always looks for the best. (Creatively positive and looks for wheat among the weeds.)
- Love always perseveres. It never looks back, but keeps going to the end. (No regrets, no grudges, no fuming. In this for the long haul.)
- Which phrase do you connect with the most?
- Which phrase is the most difficult to take in?
- Which phrase gives you the most hope?
- Which phrase do you want to hold in your heart this week?
God is love. This is the great truth. How will this inform your day?