"If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, 'Jump,' and it jumps, but I don't love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love." (1 Corinthians 13:1-3 MSG)
I always jump to the "love is patient, love is kind..." part whenever I turn to 1 Corinthians 13. I must admit these were the verses I used to overlook before. Until something happened last year which has led me to these words... and I find them beautiful and so much on point. That was the time when I was hurt by people who are close to me with serious and below-the-belt offense.
Many times I asked, "of all the people, why them?" With the betrayal and stabs in my back, I didn't want to see them. I felt so wounded, I didn't want to talk to them. It cut deep. Questions ran through my mind about the things they did which I find hard to accept and understand, and though I tried not to pay back nor treat them bad whenever they were around, bitterness and resentment were already creeping in. I almost condemned them in my thoughts saying to myself, "Didn't the Word told us to do this and not that?" That's when God gave me those verses. I came to realize that I was also doing them the same because I allowed the negative emotions to enter and rule my heart instead of love. Thank God, He is always on the lookout to rescue me from sinning.
When we're hurt it's too easy to justify our thoughts and feelings with our knowledge of the Word that we forget God's greatest commandment is LOVE.
My painful experience has taught me so much which serve as a reminder for me until now. I'm learning how to forgive, even if my offenders do not ask for forgiveness. I'm learning how to understand and still believe the good in other people, even though they do me wrong. I'm learning to set aside my proofs of being right— if proving myself right means winning in an unloving way. For what is my faith and everything good I gained if I'm not loving? Nothing.
Are we loving enough?
Loving others is never an easy thing, but at least, doing so sets us free. And we can be free to love them genuinely... seeing past their mistakes because after all, that's how the Lord is to us.
No matter what ugly and hurtful thing the world brings, God called us to love. So, our response to anything life throws us should always be to love. No amount of pain nor gain can change the fact that since God loves us, we ought to love others as well.
We might find ourselves failing in that area as we try. But if we connect our hearts to God, who Himself is Love, there is nothing too hard for us to do. He is the one who will guide us and help us if we are willing to seek Him and obey His instructions. He is the perfect model of genuine and unconditional love. Other sources are just frail and finite imitations, therefore, we must look to Him if we want to be loving.
How do we prepare ourselves to love others? We must love ourselves the way God loves us as we cannot do something for others what we are unable to do for ourselves. Then, ask God to give us the strength to demonstrate the same kind of love towards the people around us— no matter how unlovable they are. Pray that He grant us the desire to have a heart like His... giving others love more than anything.
For what would we rather choose? To be loving or be completely nothing?