Monday, April 6, 2009

True Love

I Corinthians 13:1-7

Every election, politicians promise to reduce the deficit and make life easier for the American people. As soon as the election is over, they start spending money for the things they want and the deficit grows, resulting in a tax increase. Even tax cuts or refunds actually cost extra because of the way they’re done. The fabulous speeches were just words.

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” (I Corinthians 13:1-3)

Without love, the wonderful promises will never be fulfilled because they were only a way to get people to do what you wanted. Whatever action is taken will be for the purpose of attaining future cooperation, rather than interest in helping others.

Many of those with the greatest intellectual ability spend all their time designing puzzles to prove they are smarter than those who try to solve them, rather than trying to solve problems that those less gifted have not been able to solve, because they don’t care about other people. When their efforts are devoted to other peoples problems, it is only to those which will pay a quick big return. More demanding problems tend to be ignored as not providing sufficient return quickly enough. Such ability is worthless to God used in such a fashion.

The person who gives to charity because it is a tax deduction, or to build his reputation, rather than because he is genuinely concerned for the people who receive the help, has wasted his gifts, as far as God is concerned. Much philanthropy is nothing more than a way of relieving a guilty conscience or obtaining some personal benefit, and God is not pleased with it, because it is not based on love.

Several years ago, I knew a woman who always insisted on greeting everybody with a hug and a kiss. Such is greeting is very pleasant from some people, but from her, it made me very uncomfortable, Everything in her home had one of her children or grandchildren’s names on it. Each person was told how much they were loved and which items were for them. Anytime they did anything that displeased her, she would switch the names to show her displeasure. Her hugs and kisses made me uncomfortable after learning this. Clearly her love was a conditional, and manipulative.

Paul gives a list of characteristics of real love to enable us to distinguish the real thing. The fake confuses a lot of people who end up wondering why love is so unsatisfactory. Often those who have never experience the real thing reject it because it is not what they have come to expect, and don’t trust it as a result.

“Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” (I Corinthians 13:4-7)

Charity, or love remains kind, even when it is suffering. It does not try to make others feel guilty or hurt because of it’s suffering. It doesn’t lash out at others.

Love doesn’t envy. It doesn’t get jealous over gifts or compliments others receive. It doesn’t disparage what the other has done, or complain that someone else should have gotten it instead. Love rejoices in what the loved one received.

Love doesn’t consider itself superior to the other, and doesn’t treat the loved one as inferior, but as an equal, It doesn’t make slaves or demand service.

Love doesn’t humiliate those it loves, either by actions, or by talk. It doesn’t rail on people, or abuse them. It isn’t offensive.

Love is not selfish. It’s focus is not on what it wants, but is concerned about the needs of the other. It doesn’t use loving actions to get it’s own way, nor threats to withhold them.

Love isn’t easily angered or upset. It is patient and forgiving.

Love doesn’t assume the worst of it’s mate, doesn’t look for something wrong.

Love isn’t pleased with wrong doing by those it loves, but it also doesn’t ignore it either. It has a realistic view of the other person, and wants to know the truth. Real love isn’t blind.

Love takes whatever hurts it receives without undue complaints or quitting.

Love keeps on believing in the person, keeps on hoping, even though there is no visible reason for hope.

Love survives everything. It cannot be killed, though it may go into hibernation. A little warmth will bring it back out.

Such love is the natural result of the Holy Spirit in our life, and will automatically be manifested when he is in control. It’s lack is evidence that he is not in control.

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