But the greatest of these is love.
As little girls we are romanticized into believing that whimsical love will truly conquer all. More strolls in the park and candlelight dinners, more flowers delivered by a friend or cards in the mail will fill every hearts desire - and though incredibly great, it is not the end all be all of love. Depth of loving another person must include the other qualities listed in 1 Corinthians: kindness, perseverance, patience, humility to name a few. But even knowing this, Paul ends his conversation about the characteristics of love stating that the greatest of these is love. When we lead with love, and choose love, we have the opportunity to overlook many other things.
I remember a few years into marriage LD and I had a realization that neither of us woke up trying to get on the others’ nerves or make life more difficult for the other – because honestly that would be a ridiculous marriage. But because life is unexpected and overwhelming, annoyances and challenges continually arise. We had to make the conscious decision every time a frustration arose that we were “for” each other. We had to choose to lead with love, trusting the other person was also “for” us, even if the situation attempted to tell us otherwise.
Many times in our current culture we want to see love as soft, tender, and gentle, but love that includes the other characteristics Paul discusses are anything but wimpy. Love has the ability to sacrifice deeply, call out sin with humility, fiercely protect, and run with confidence into a storm. After walking through this study of love, my hope would be that I would not see love as a two-dimensional shape without depth, but instead a multi-faceted and complex configuration that has the ability to change space and time. Our world will be changed with that kind of love.
“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:35