Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 ESV.
What is love? I have been asked this a lot over the years by students and friends. I always take them back to 1 Corinthians 13. I know it is a verse that is read at every wedding and often gets quoted during Valentines day but what does love really mean? As a good Lutheran it is a great question to ask. Let me start by telling you what it doesn’t mean first.
Love is not an emotion. Love is not a feeling about another person. Love isn’t about making me happy or making the other person happy. It isn’t an emotional high. What Paul talked about here has nothing to do with how I feel about someone. If we think love has to do with feelings then we missed the whole point of the text. But more importantly what love truly is. (this by the way is the hardest for my students to understand)
Over the years I think many of us have gotten the idea that the love in a relationship between two people has to do with how we feel. When people use this text as a marriage text I pray the pastor explains to them what the text means. The Love used here is always used as a verb. It is never an adjective or noun. It describes how we care for each other. You see Love is about how we respond to those around us. It tells us how love is acted out. Love is about action. The really crazy part is this text has very little to do with us at all beyond a way for us to imitate Christ. If we were to focus solely on how we are to love each other we would miss out on the most important part of love text.
The most important part of this love text isn’t how do I love my spouse or how to do I love my girlfriend or boyfriend but how does Jesus love me? His love in this text points us to something that is so important to marriage, love endures. Love doesn’t give up. That care from God lasts even when we don’t deserve it. Love is patient…Absolutely Christ is patient with a crazy awful sinner like me. God showed His love for me by forgiving my sin through the cross.
Today as you think about Love remember that Love isn’t about how you feel about other people but about how God showed his care for you. As you think about those around you today share the crazy love Jesus showed to us sinners.