I would imagine there are very few people who have never encountered this selection of scripture.
I Corinthians 13:4-8
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails…
If you are someone who was raised in a Christian home and/or went to church most of your life. You probably have had someone challenge you to insert your name in the place of “love” in these verses. We quickly see how we fall very short of what love really is.
Let’s try it…
Tom is patient?
Tom is kind?
Tom doesn’t envy?
Tom doesn’t boast?
Tom is not proud?
Tom does not dishonor others?
Tom is not self-seeking?
Tom is not easily angered?
Tom keeps no record of wrongs?
Tom does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth?
Tom always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres?
Tom never fails?
Ok, I was laughing from the start.
I fall short in every single statement in one way or another. So do you. You can try your name there, you can try Mother Theresa’s name there, or anybody you know. We don’t measure up…that is what grace is for, but that is not my point.
I had a thought, what if I inserted the word “God” in these verses?
Would He stand up to His own standard?
After all according to scripture (1st John 4:7) “God is Love”.
And we are told “perfect love casts out fear” (1st John 4:18).
So let’s try it…
God is patient?
God is kind?
God doesn’t envy?
God doesn’t boast?
God is not proud?
God does not dishonor others?
God is not self-seeking?
God is not easily angered?
God keeps no record of wrongs?
God does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth?
God always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres?
God never fails?
If any of that makes you uneasy, maybe it’s because you haven’t seen God for who He really is.
God is better than what most of us have been told.
He’s not a tyrant who can’t wait to punish.
He isn’t a cosmic police officer who has a list of your offences.
He is not a far off weird old man who doesn’t care about you.
He is not a rich uncle who will send blessings only when you do the right thing.
He is a loving father, patiently waiting for you to acknowledge your need for Him.
Don’t allow misconceptions or experiences to keep you from finding out how much you are loved.
Ask God to reveal Himself to you, and don’t be surprised when He lives up to those famous words from scripture.
Written by Tom Wise © Finding Wonder 2013