1 Corinthians 13
1If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
2If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
3And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
4Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,
5does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,
6does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
7bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.
9For we know in part and we prophesy in part;
10but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.
11When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.
12For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.
13But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.
I just finished one of the best books I've read in a long time! I don't even know how to begin to explain it. But I've gotta try to make sense of the thoughts and stuff running rampant in my head right now!
There is a part towards the end, just before the final climax where the Truth is revealed. But what is interesting is the character's reaction to that truth. "What kind of man would agree to such a thing? A man of virtue. But he didn't feel like a man of virtue. A man of great faith. But he didn't have any faith. A man who was unique and powerful. But he didn't want to be either unique or powerful."
This character, Johnny, goes on to describe himself as a shadow of himself. The person who he started out be, seems to be dead, no longer a part of who he is now. Because of the inward conflict, he struggles with it. He has a choice to make, but cannot seem to find the strength to make it.
That battle is being waged in my own life now. The person of faith and virtue and desire to serve an invisible God, seems to be a mere shadow. I find myself looking, searching, trying desperately to get back to that person, but there is a choice I have to make, and am I willing to make that choice? Do I have the strength to make that choice?
So faced with the Truth, and all other possibilities exhausted, he gives in to this truth. Decides that he will give it a shot. Only to find that there doesn't seem to be anything different about him now. He is still powerless to face his enemies, powerless to help those who need him, powerless to accept himself as a "freak, ostracized by the very people he wants to help". But is his struggle different from our own struggles?
"Once born into childlike faith, brimming with belief, typical people begin to lose their faith. Society mocks them. Their friends smirk. They come to change the world, but over time the world changes them. Soon they forget who they were; they forget the faith they once had. Then one day someone tells them the truth, but they don't want to go back because they are comfortable in their new skin. Being a stranger in this world is never easy. "
Like Johnny, I feel that I've done enough, I've suffered enough, I've sacrificed enough. Why can't I just have what is rightfully mine without the work, without all the struggle? Then it hits me like a brick to the face. It isn't about me anymore.
Because of this world I have conditioned myself to focus on my survival. I am spent and exhausted from being the one who is going to save me. Which brings me back to the title of this blog, Love. What does love have to do with any of this? How can I truely accept who God wants me to be, until I understand and know what love really is? If you have read previous posts, you know that I don't even love myself. How do I learn to love (i'm talking about the love that is referenced in the above scripture) after all these years? If I can't love me, how can I love others? How can I show the love of God to others? My words are as a noisy gong or clanging cymbals.
Where do I start? Matt 22:37-39 says
"37Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"
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