April 13, 2013
The Way of Love
1 Corinthians 13
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
God loves with agape, the love described in 1 Corinthians 13. He loves us so much that He sent His Son to die on the cross for us, that we might have everlasting life. His love is not based on performance. Christ loves us so much that while we were yet a sinner, He died for us.
God’s love for us is unconditional and undeserved. He loves us in spite of our disobedience, our weakness, our sin and our selfishness. He loves us enough to provide a way to abundant, eternal life. From the cross Christ cried out, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing.” If God loved those who are sinners that much, can you imagine how much He loves you — His child through faith in Christ and who seeks to please Him?
In the parable of the prodigal son, as recorded in Luke 15, Jesus illustrates God’s unconditional love for His children. A man’s younger son asked his father for his share of the estate, packed his belongings, and took a trip to a distant land where he wasted all of his money on parties and prostitutes. About the time that his money was gone, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. He finally came to his senses and realized that his father’s hired men at least had food to eat. He decided, “I will go to my father and say, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired man.”
While he was still a long distance away, his father saw him coming and was filled with loving pity. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. I think that the reason he saw his son coming while he was still a long distance away was that he was praying for his son’s return and spent much time each day watching that lonely road on which his son would return.
Even as the son was making his confession, the father interrupted to instruct the servants to kill the fatted calf and prepare for a celebration — his lost son had repented; he had changed his mind and had returned to become part of the family again.
God demonstrated His love for us before we were Christians, but this story makes it obvious that God continues to love his child who has strayed far from Him. He eagerly awaits his return to the Christian family and fellowship.
Even when you are disobedient, he continues to love you, waiting for you to respond to His love and forgiveness.
I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's.
My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces.
View all posts by Joe
April 14th, 2013 at 10:39 am
Thanks, my friend!!
April 14th, 2013 at 6:01 pm
If only a fairly large group of so called "Christians" and "Christian" organizations would read past Leviticus and get over to Corinthians. I love this chapter, it's message has always been one of my favorites.Peace <3Jay
April 15th, 2013 at 12:56 am
Jay, Leviticus is irrelevant. What's important are Romans, 1 Timothy, and 1 Corinthians 6, which we don't skip over. What I think Joe Blow is saying is that we don't need to deny our sinfulness. What we need to do is simply to realize God's 1 Corinthians 13 love, and follow the example of the prodigal son.