Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Love Never Fails!
“Huh? Love is patient? … you are NOT patient with me, so…you don’t love me!?” This was the reaction of my 10-year-old Dylan when he heard our Pastor read Sunday’s Scripture which happened to be 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7…
Of all the Sundays for Dylan to pay attention to the reading of Scripture, he had to hear this one!
Thank goodness for his very short attention span so he just truly heard that part…I would be in real big trouble if he had heard the rest!
The truth is that, as I have expressed often before, patience is one of those fruits of the Spirit that have not yet matured in me. My shortness of temper gets me in deep trouble many times, with a lot of people…but mostly with those I love the most…and truly, mostly with Dylan. He’s got a way about him that moves me to have the most outrageous and profound love for him while at the same time it just drives me insane! Therefore, our relationship is based on a series of struggles between trying to stay calm and expressing exuberant demonstrations of affection as well as frustration.
The problem is that my lack of patience with Dylan is so obvious that even he, the king of things going over one’s head, can see it. And I don’t know how to become more patient.
I pray, I try, I strategize…but at the slightest push of a button, I lose it and end up yelling. Hence, Dylan’s misconception that my lack of patience equates lack of love…and it breaks my heart that he might think that.
The love that 1 Corinthians 13 speaks about is perfect. In contrast, I am completely imperfect …particularly in the way I love. Therefore, when left to my own devices, it is no wonder I fall short of the love expressed in Scripture. God is the only one who can teach us how to love the way 1 Corinthians 13 describes because God is Love Himself. He is the conduit, the way that leads us to love perfectly, even in our imperfection…
We love only because He loved us first (1 John 4: 19). Otherwise, any love we might profess would stem from some form of co-dependent, selfishness that has only one person at the center: me. It is only by the power of God’s Love that we can begin to know what love really is. However, what I gather from the teachings in this glorious chapter of 1 Corinthians is that while I still reside on this shore of eternity, I would only know how to partially love. I would have only a reflection of the perfection of that Love that God is. That perfectly patient, kind, unselfish love that never fails is only fully achievable in God…in His Holy presence…once our corrupt will has finally become pristine and perfectly in tune with the will of God by the completed work of Sanctification in Christ…once He finally gets to pronounce us clean and paid for the day of our judgement.
Does this mean, however, that I am to resign myself to some form of imperfect love while still on this world? Of course, not! The process of Sanctification begins in the here and now. Therefore, as the Holy Spirit is hard at work, growing His fruits in me, and I stay close, praying and “eagerly desiring the gifts of the Spirit” (1 Corinthians 14: 1) it will be possible for me to see the beginning of my transformation. I and all those around me would be able to see how I have put away my childish and selfish ways as the part that I know continues to expand and the reflection on the mirror becomes less blurry.
“Dylan…no matter how I react, how little patience I show or how crazy you make me, there is nothing in this world that could make me stop loving you! Do you understand?” I said these words to my son with a kiss later on. “Um hum…” was his reply as he walked away seemingly unharmed. I pray God helps me be a teachable subject so I can truly begin to learn how to love perfectly even within my own imperfection.