Where is the love?
What the world needs now is love, sweet love.
All you need is love.
We sing about it.
We write poems about it.
We long for it.
We fear we will never experience it.
The thing is, we rarely define "love" in a meaningful way.
And so "love" becomes a tingly feeling or an emotional pull towards something or someone.
Part of the problem is the English language, which on last count, had more words in its lexicon than any other language, but clings to the broadly defined word "love," which can describe the way we feel about cars, frozen yogurt, family members, hobbies, and romantic attachments.
We use the same word, but we mean different things when we say it or write it or sing it.
And so Paul does us a favor when he defines "love" in 1 Corinthians 13.
Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
Love it is not rude, it is not self-seeking. It isn't easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. It doesn't delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Whew. I used to avoid this passage when I was mad at Duane.
Yes, the Holy Spirit would convict me of this passage as I hung on to hurt and anger, feeling like Duane didn't understand me, wasn't listening, or was being totally unfair. And I have to admit, many times I ignored the conviction, clung to my anger, and ended up regretting it.
According to this passage, it's more important to love than to be "right," to be "smart," to know stuff.
Whew. I really like being right, and I really like knowing stuff.
This is the way we should love.
This is the way we should love God.
This is the way we should love the family of God, the people in our churches, the people who follow Jesus along with us.
This is the way we should love our neighbor, those who don't yet follow Jesus.
No gloating when we're proven right.
No jealousy when someone has something we don't have.
No rudeness when the barista gets our order wrong or the waitress forgets to put the salad dressing on the side.
No anger when someone cuts us off on the freeway.
Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
I don't even know how to do that--when I'm hurt and want to protect myself from more hurt.
But this is the most excellent way.
In our marriages.
In our friendships.
In our churches.
In the world.