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.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
God Is Love
Have you ever heard a pastor read these words at a wedding? Couples often choose this text for their marriage ceremony as a beautiful description of the love they are celebrating by saying their vows to one another. It is moving to think about the power of selfless love.
Read the text again, but this time, substitute your name for the words “love” and “it.” For example, “Jim is patient, Jim is kind. Jim does not envy, etc.” When you get to the word “always,” slow down a little, and realize that it’s not true. You don’t always protect, trust, hope, or persevere. Regardless of the strength of your love, you have moments when your selfishness overcomes your love.
But now, read the text once more. This time, put Jesus’ name in the place where you had put your name. Now the words ring true. Jesus was patient and kind. He kept no record of wrongs. He always protected. He always persevered. Jesus did all these things perfectly, not simply to serve as an example for us but to serve as a substitute for us. Through Jesus, God sees Jesus’ disciples as perfectly loving. Through Jesus, we sinners are saved.
When you are angry because other people do not love you the way they promised, remember the love of Jesus, and forgive them. When you are disappointed in yourself because you realize that you are self-seeking, remember the love of Jesus, and relax in his forgiveness and faithfulness.
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for your kindness. Lead me always to trust you for forgiveness and love. Amen.