The Whole Picture
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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.
I have encountered this verse several times throughout my life. And each time I came across it once again, whoever I was interested in at the moment would come to mind. I felt confident that I understood the definition of love, and that I could take on its calling for that certain person in my life.
Never had it occurred to me that I do not see the whole picture yet. Never had I realized that I still did not understand what it meant to be loved, to love someone else according to God’s standards.
I insisted that love meant staying no matter what. Love meant looking past someone’s flaws even if they hurt me. And while that may be true to a certain degree, love can also mean letting someone go and pointing them to Christ. Even if it hurts me. Because ultimately, God is love and His love outweighs any human’s. He can heal the brokenhearted even when human love adds salt to wounds, intentionally or not.
So before we throw around 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 and assume that we are capable of the love it describes, we first need to learn about the One who invented love in the first place.