1 Corinthians 13 (NIV)
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 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 do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 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. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 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 the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a 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. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Biblical love is that of a lifestyle of love, one in which we love with our actions and through our treatment of others. We can do all sorts of things and think and even look like we are pleasing God, but unless the motive comes from our hearts, those things mean absolutely nothing.
Verses 4-8 outline what love looks like, it is patient and kind, it is not envious of others and what they have or do, it is not boastful – drawing attention to ‘self’ rather than God, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others or seek to profit itself, it is not easily angered – short tempered, snappy or rude and it holds no grudges – but forgives. It always protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres – it never leaves you, questions you, speaks negatively or gives up on you. Love never fails.
How amazing is that?
‘Where there is love, there is life.’
– Mahatma Ghandi