Okay, here's the confession part: I was tempted to skip over it. YES. Really. I very nearly skipped the whole chapter. I thought, "I've ready this SO many times, I memorized it when I was probably eight years old, and it's so generic and clichéd that I'm positive I won't get anything out of it." (Wow. I'm arrogant. What a bitch! *pardon my language*)
Fortunately, I stopped myself before that went any further. Love is one of the defining qualities of Christianity. If this passage is too overly read to make any difference for anyone, what can the rest of scripture possibly offer me?
So, at the risk of blasphemy, I rewrote this scripture so it would apply particularly to my life. This is what I came up with:
If I compete in Ethics Bowl and have all the right answers but have no Love, I am like a noisy alarm clock.
If the girls on my wing come to me for advice and I provide great insight but do so with pride and with no Love in my heart, I am nothing.
If I'm diligent and disciplined and all my professors adore me,
if I admit when I'm wrong and accept the consequence,
if I do all these things, but have no compassion or understanding, merely doing the deeds without doing them for other people or even for God, I have no Love in my heart and it counts for NOTHING.
With Love, God makes me patient, giving others the benefit of the doubt, sacrificing my own interests, respecting the needs of others first. The Love God gives me does not celebrate my deceitful victories but even when it is bad for me, embraces what is right in His sight. This God-gift of Love can endure all hardships, trusts in God's people, longs for the revelation of truth in and through God's people, and will suffer anything the world throws its way.
Love continues and persists and endures. It lives past rough times. All these things you do in Jesus' name will become history and meet their end. After all, it is only human effort (though God works in it.) But when God's perfection works through us to show and give and do this LOVE that He calls us to, it will last forever in His books of Life.
We were like infants, babbling nonsense that means nothing; but God makes us real men and women and transforms our babble into words, and words of Love. Our understanding of God is so imperfect...but He will fix that through His Love, and we will know Him so well that we can't even dream of it now.
See? These all are good - Faith, Hope, Love. But one will out-do the others in glorifying the Father. Maybe you wouldn't guess - it's Love.