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The best definition of true or real love in the Bible is found in 1John:4:8 “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love”.
Chances are that when you go to a wedding, you will hear something from 1 Corinthians 13 where love is defined as patient, kind, and rejoicing in the truth. Love never ends. So now faith, hope and love abide, these three, but the greatest of these is love. Love is the nature and character of God which no man or woman can claim as their own. As broken human beings, none of us can compare to the love that God embraces. That is why, without God in a marriage or any relationship, it simply will not work in a way that glorifies God!
The apostle wrote the letter to the Corinthians during a time when the church of Corinth was experiencing extreme frustration and sadness because of the inability of the church members to get along and stop quarreling. Worse that this is that the theology was often bad and the immaturity of the church was sickening…very much like so many churches today.
The issues among Christians and Churches often end in wars where there are no winners. Accusations fly and lies spread and neither want to come together and work for resolution. Both parties become noisy gongs and clanging cymbals and the love that is kind and patient goes missing. Might it be that compromise or discussion is a sign of weakness? Does loving someone mean that you must agree on everything? Do we love God enough to be obedient by asking forgiveness of someone when we have sinned against them? Paul reminds us that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. So, why do we find it so hard to forgive and love others? Pride? Stubbornness? Anger? Immaturity?
Paul raised the bar as to what it means to be a mature Christian. No matter how much we disagree with one another, all parties need to come together and talk about problems with one another, pray together and then reach reasonable conclusions where love reins and everyone wins.
“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 prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing…When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13: 1-2, 11-13).
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34,34).
How much damage have we all done personally to those around us when we can’t get along? Take God out of the equation and nothing works?
“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 16-18).
What or whom do we fear? Death? Losing friends or money? God?
“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me…And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:11, 13).
When are we going to lay it down and love for Jesus’s sake?