1st Corinthians 13: 4-7
“Love suffers long and is kind;
love does not envy;
love does not parade itself, is not puffed up:
does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;
does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in truth;
bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (NKJV)
How many of you mentally ticked off the qualities of Love you thought you adhered to? Yes? By doing that, sub-consciously you went into defence mode.
Maybe for some, like me, you did not even make the cut with half of these qualities. When I read the verse I automatically thought “I don’t…”. I could not even finish the thought because as I went through all of them, I realised I suck at them all.
This popular scripture is quoted, referenced, professed and abused (a great cop out to writing your own wedding vows lol) by millions of believers and unbelievers.
C. S. Lewis described the problem of pain as an “unattainable ecstasy” that has “hovered beyond the grasp of your consciousness”. I believe this describes part of the popularity of this scripture about Love. What is described in 1st Corinthians 13 plays to our fanciful sensitivities of a Love that is hopeful, yet is out of reach. Part of its attraction, why we strive to possess it and conquer it, is because of its unattainability.
It becomes mythical: a precious treasure one should have to slay dragons and giants for, fantastical creatures for an fantastical thing. Basically the Lord of the Rings Trilogy x1000.
1st Corinthians depicts Love as a divine entity that is able to conquer the struggles of the individual and millions of others, at the same time. The only virtue that can exist without the intervention of others; Love presents itself as the single cure for the human condition.
However, through history and today’s media, we are conscious of the cyclical shortfalls of humanity and so exists a sense of detachment from whether man can truly embody this divine love in its entirety.
The only person who was able to do this was Jesus and it seems He is the only person who can. We now have our own version of Love that we are comfortable with and does not remind us of our shortfalls – secular love. To the extent that we so feverishly, flippantly and constantly reaffirm (or attempt to) our sub-par version of it to others, to our selves.
I believe that there are occasions where we say ‘I love you’, but on a sub-conscious level we are compensating for something else, an area that is lacking on either on our part (mostly) or theirs.
i.e. You say – “I love you”. Your sub-conscious – ‘I love you but I feel guilty because a part of me is jealous of you’. So the action of vocalising becomes a means of sub-consciously attempting to fill a void of where we fall short on emulating true love.
This is not the divine Love that God represents, intended for us to have or wants us to base our understanding of Love on.
Try reading the scripture from this perspective: God is Love and God is within us, therefore I am in Him. Ipso facto I am Love. We can only say this when we emulate, believe, apply and show all the time the likeness of God. The Bible reveals the characteristics of God, what makes Him God. We are not God, but we were created in His image with the intention of showing His likeness on the Earth, the place our Father gave us everlasting dominion over, for His pleasure and Glory. However, with the fall of Man through Adam, we were born with sin. But then Jesus died for our sins and Christ came to live in us through the Holy Spirit.