4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.8 Love never fails.1st Corinthians 13:4-8a
The english word for ‘love’ is a catch-all word that ranges from things we like to things we absolutely adore: “I love this hoodie, I love this restaurant, I love those shoes, and I love my wife (husband, parent, etc.).” Certainly ‘love’ doesn’t mean the same thing in all of those situations.
Our word for ‘Love’ doesn’t carry as much weight as it does in the greek language. Therefore passages like this one in 1st Corinthians 13 lose the weight and depth of their meaning.
There are four ancient greek words that can all be translated in english as ‘love’. The greek word that is translated as ‘love’ in the above passage is the word agapē. Agapē is the type of love that is unconditional. It’s the love that God loves each of us with.
This passage is not about God’s love for us, but if we look at this passage and think about the way God has loved and continues to love us – how patient He was/is with us, how kind He is, He doesn’t keep any record of our wrongs, He always protects us, He trusts us with His work, He hopes for us and perseveres with us as we struggle – we can start to see the weight of what 1st Corinthians 13 is telling us to do.
It’s almost like Paul, who wrote this letter to the Corinthian church, is saying, ‘Remember how God loves us? Now go and do likewise.’ For if we truly know God’s love for us, we will be able to truly love like He loves.
Only through the power of Christ can we reciprocate agapē love.
We can’t look at the above definition of what love is and resolve to get better at each aspect. That’s not how unconditional love works. We must lean more heavily on the Holy Spirit so that the love we continuously receive from God is the same love we continuously give in every thought and interaction.
How can we lean into God’s agapē love together as a family/friend group?
Thank you Lord, for your love that we don’t deserve. May we see and know how deeply you love us so that we can show others your unconditional love. Open our eyes to see you more clearly. In Jesus name, Amen.