A while back, our pastor talked about “What love is…and what love ain’t”. I got tickled. He sure is a country boy. And I sure love him! (It’s OK. He’s also my husband.)
He directed us to I Corinthians 13. I’ve read that passage so many times I could probably say it from memory. I realize now that I’ve just glossed over its meaning. The older I get (Holy Smokes I say that a lot!), the more it speaks to me very, very clearly.
He started the chapter. That first verse is a kicker: If I speak in the languages of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only “a whole lot of noise” (my translation on that last part). I’ve known people like that! I thought to myself and continued to nod my head in agreement. Preach it, preacher!
Then he went down the checklist:
1. Love is patient, love is kind. (Well…I always TRY to be patient and kind, so I’ll check yes on that.)
2. Love does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. (I TRY not to envy and appreciate my blessings…and TRY not worry so much about what other people (the Joneses) are getting. And I TRY not to boast or be proud…but SOMETIMES in my head…I MIGHT think more of myself than I should and start counting my good deeds…No checkmark on that.)
3. Love is not rude, it is not self-seeking. (I’m practically NEVER rude, I think…but the “self-seeking” part… a few weeks ago, I realized that I mostly want MY way.)
4. …love is not easily angered; it keeps no record of wrongs. (I TRY to bite my tongue…is it still so bad if I just think it and get mad inside? And the part about keeping no record of wrongs! Not even SOME THINGS? This is starting to get more difficult!
He went on through the chapter. When he hit the last part…it hit ME!
“When I was a child, I talked like a child, thought like a child…and acted like a child. But when I became an adult, I put away those childish ways.” Let me say it again: “When I was a child, I talked like a child, thought like a child, and acted like a child. But when I grew up…I put away those childish ways…and started ACTING like an adult!” I’ve read that sooo many times before, but THIS time it clicked.
At the end of the love chapter, there are a couple of lines about growing up and loving like an adult. It’s been there all the time!
When we are followers of Christ, we are commanded-not encouraged- to love people every day. We are in relationships, are married, have families and are in the work force. We go to the grocery store, Wal-Mart and a million other places. We see people everywhere we go. We can’t afford-don’t have the option-of loving like PRESCHOOLERS!
So…that means we WILL be kind. We WILL be patient. We WILL NOT be rude. We WILL NOT be self-seeking. We WILL NOT be easily angered, and we WILL NOT keep a record of wrongs. We are going to put on our big girl panties or our Superman underoos and ACT like and LOVE like adults-even if we haven’t had our naps!
God’s Word. It is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart-Hebrews 4:12. That’s the gospel truth!