5.11.14 "Love After You Messed Up!"

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.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. 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. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.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?