Thursday, August 4, 2011


Someone once said that when we are young, we believe that there is only one kind of love. Then, when we are older, we believe that there are many kinds of love, and that the Greeks had different names for all of them. And then, when we are older still, we know that there is only one kind of love; though it is deep and many-faceted, every layer of it is still love.

Countless books, sermons, and devotionals have been written on the different kinds of love. Every word was penned in the devout and sincere hope that it would help to clarify this complicated topic; but
more often than not we are left more confused than ever, these brief flashes of illuminated thought having served to blind rather than enlighten us.
I think we overcomplicate love. Yes, love expresses itself in a lot of different ways. Not all of these ways are healthy, and not all of them are obvious. We do not all experience love in the same way. We do not all express love in the same way.
But we do all love. Some of us are shy of our emotions and give our love only to a few. Some of us are starved for love. Some of us are prodigal with our love, and some of us are surrounded by it. But love is something we all have access to on some level. Love is something we can all give, something we can all have.
We are told that only God can love completely and perfectly. But we all can love God, and His love in us can bring us to new heights and depths. We’ve been told to read through the “love chapter” and replace every instance of the word “love” with God’s name. We’ve been told that this is a good way to understand what God is like.
We are called to love with the love of God. If we read the love chapter and replace each instance of the word “love” with our own names, will this not teach us a more excellent way? Will this not show us how we are to behave toward one another and toward God?

1 Corinthians 13
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, 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. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
(bolding mine)

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