“Of course,” I had to agree. We both knew the Apostle Paul’s admonition to love: “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal . . . and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing (1 Corinthians 13:1-2 ESV).
My concept of love was mostly unformed as a college student, though, as a new follower of Christ, God’s Spirit and his Word began to transform me. I was like a woman who marries a man with six children and realizes her commitment entails much more than a husband.
Paul’s words provided clear descriptions of genuine love, but I seemed to fail at every opportunity to put them into practice. My heart throbbed with faith in God, but obviously retained hard deposits of selfishness.
When I shared my growing faith with long-time friends who also needed a Savior, they didn’t respond as I hoped. But instead of praying for them and keeping in touch, I easily gave up on them, without recalling that “Love is patient and kind” (1 Cor. 13:4).
I likewise filled my parents in on a better understanding of the gospel than the faith traditions they had provided me, without considering that love does not boast (1 Cor. 13:4). My superior attitude threw cold water on the home front. When one younger brother interrupted me at a busy time, I treated him badly, unmindful that love is not rude or irritable (1 Cor. 13:5).
And the challenge to love had barely begun for me. Marriage and motherhood would exponentially multiply my need to appropriate Christ’s power to live in a way that pleases and glorifies God.
But God saw every dark spot in my heart and did not give up on me, precisely because of his amazing love. He sent his only Son to die for us, “while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8).
Jesus told his followers: “just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).
By Blue Ribbon News guest columnist Patti Richter of Heath. Read her Good Faith columns at BlueRibbonNews.com.
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