Welcome! Lord Jesus, come by your Spirit I pray and speak to my heart through your word!
1 Corinthians 13:1-8a "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."
Even though I have heard this passage read, especially at weddings, so many times it still pours great meaning into my soul as I read and contemplate it again. What grabs me today is the repeated phrase, "...but do not have love, I am nothing."
As I contemplate this in the context of last Sunday's message about marriage relationships in Ephesians 5, I am drawn to a humbling conclusion. Love is the real "salt and pepper" of my relationship ability with people and I can have the greatest of gifts but without love to adorn the use of those gifts I wind up amounting to "nothing"! However, even the simplest acts of love that reveals something of patience, grace, hope, forgiveness, celebration, honor and perseverance - seasons my connection with others in profound ways that I cannot imagine!.
As I write this I am remembering a missed opportunity I had over the last several days to reach out with a simple act of love to a friend who has suffered a loss. I missed it! I had the chance to season our relationship with a simple act of love at an opportune time and I missed it. I regret that!
What do I do now?
My mind immediately went into defense and excuse mode! Self-justification for missing opportunities is rarely satisfying!
Then I started to engage myself-condemnation/failure mode! That did not go anywhere positive!
Then I tried the grace/love path! Now we are getting somewhere!
I remembered that this love - explained above - is how I have been loved by God and really how I am loved by this person. God has seasoned His relationship with me with love for a long time. So I can receive forgiveness from God and myself while now thinking creatively (not guiltily) about how I can still show this person love even though I missed the prime opportunity! Love seasons hopeless situations with life and joy and creativity!
Love always gives me another chance! I get to love today even though I missed opportunities yesterday! That is the way I have been loved by God - in the midst of my failures He continues to love me! I get to "salt and pepper" the relationship with my friend with love today even though I missed an opportunity to season it before because love is patient, kind and hopeful ------ and keeps no record of wrongs!
How does all this strike you?