“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…”
Whenever I have heard this passage (1 Corinthians 13:1-8) taught, it’s used as an absolute definition. I believe that the intent of this passage is to give you the results of practicing unconditional love, not simply define it.
Unconditional love has nothing to do with the person being loved. It has everything to do with the person who is giving the love. Unconditional love seems to refine the giver. We dwell on the benefits to the receiver, but the giver of unconditional love benefits the more.
Let’s say that I have an anger problem, but I choose to love unconditionally. As my anger is kindled, I am faced with the choice of whether to honor unconditional love or follow my anger. If I allow love in, it will not only conquer my anger, but solve the reason why I am angry in the first place.
Or say that I am faced with a person who has the reputation of being incapable of love, what are my choices? I could choose to stay away from that person which is what most would choose, or I could choose love. Now, this doesn’t mean that we allow people to run over us. It means that we will love them enough to do what others would not and that includes telling them what they really need to hear instead of enabling their behavior.
When you truly love someone, you don’t give up on them. This is why God said, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” When you truly love someone, when they are at their weakest, you are the strongest. This is why it was “while we were without strength, Christ died …”.
When you truly love someone, you become a benefit to them that they can see. You enhance their life so that it’s worth living. This is why Christ said, “I came to bring you life and life more abundantly.” The greatest part of loving someone is doing something for them that they could not do for themselves. This is why “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever shall believe on him shall not parish, but have eternal life.”
Love is something for the mature, not the immature. If you are trying to love someone and “self” keeps getting in the way, you’re not ready for the commitment of unconditional love. But if you would allow this love to have it’s way with you, all of your insecurities, fears, quirks and impurities would pour out of you.
Remember, mankind requires a condition,but God never did. Who do you believe will be left standing in the end?