Christian Love—The Highest and Best Gift
If I speak with the eloquence of men and of angels, but have no love, I become no more than blaring brass or crashing cymbal. If I have the gift of foretelling the future and hold in my mind not only all human knowledge but the very secrets of God, and if I also have that absolute faith which can move mountains, but have no love, I amount to nothing at all. If I dispose of all that I possess, yes, even if I give my own body to be burned, but have no love, I achieve precisely nothing. This love of which I speak is slow to lose patience—it looks for a way of being constructive. It is not possessive: it is neither anxious to impress nor does it cherish inflated ideas of its own importance. Love has good manners and does not pursue selfish advantage. It is not touchy. It does not keep account of evil or gloat over the wickedness of other people. On the contrary, it is glad with all good men when truth prevails. Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. It is, in fact, the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen.
~1 Corinthians 13:1-8, J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)
The first time I heard this translation, I was listening to a message on the radio by Corrie Ten Boom. I was driving on my way to work and will never forget how impacting this message was. I shared it with a lot of people after hearing. She spoke about her testimony during the time of the Holocaust. She read this scripture of 1 Corinthians 13 after testifying how the Lord had to do such a work in her heart. She had to extend this love to the ones that brought on death and torture to many. She said 97,000 women died, including her sister. She was a survivor of the Holocaust and able to preach the Word of God to many. One day after preaching on forgiveness and love, a soldier approached her and asked if she would do the same even for him. In that moment she remembered an evil man that caused such torment. Yet he reached out his hand for a handshake and she said she didn’t know how she did it but truly the love of God manifested as she shook his hand. In that moment, she experienced forgiveness and love all over again. She lived the word that she preached.
Corrie stated, “When we can’t love in the old human way, God can give us the perfect way. Do you know what hurts us so very much? It’s love. Love is the strongest force in the world, and when it is blocked that means pain. There are two things we can do when this happens. We can kill that love so that it stops hurting. But then of course part of us dies too. Or we can ask God to open up another route for that love to travel.” God showed us this love. He has poured out His love and given to us an outpouring of the greatest gift that could ever exist. This other route is THROUGH God! This is the best LOVE!
Love is what we seek. Love is what we respond to. Love is what we crave. Love is what moves us. Love is what touches us. Love is what keeps us alive. Love is what causes the greatest pain when it is shut out. We experience that in human form -a FLAWED love. So God exchanges it for His unfailing love! This is the love that will never fail us. This is the love that will outlast all. Just as the opening scripture declares – it is the one thing that will still stand when all else has fallen. This gives us hope. This makes us trust again. This makes us build again when something was broken. There is a way. That way is through God. I find no other way to have such a joy and freedom. Give love a chance. Give God a chance.
This love is what He wants us to practice with others despite what has happened to us. We STILL walk in love, we choose love, we surrender to love and we follow love for GOD IS LOVE. We shall not be afraid of the risk.
“He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”
~1 John 4:8
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”
~1 John 4:18
“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.”
So if you don’t know what to do–just LOVE. If you find this to be something difficult then ask God for the help. He has given us the Helper – Holy Spirit to lead us in this. We shall be able to do all things through Him…. even love in the midst of any circumstance. Use the Word. You will find as you read through passages of scripture, there is an underlying theme of love. That’s the way. Take this way.
Below is a link to a 45 minute clip of Corrie Ten Boom sharing her testimony. Truly this is worth hearing, understanding the history and the expression of humility.
L ❤ V E