I’ve learned a few things about love from 1 Corinthians 13. It seems like just yesterday when I embarked on this yearlong study of love according to this chapter. That day is still etched in my mind so clearly. My very strategic writing plan for 2021 got completely
rearranged side-tracked in an instant. What was all neatly written out on my yellow notepad became what Anne Lamott affectionately describes as the “shitty first draft.” This was the first time I had planned out my writing for the whole year in advance. I felt so proud and accomplished, like an actual writer. As soon as I put my pen down from feverishly scribbling, I clearly heard (not audibly, mind you), “Nope, that’s not what you’re writing about this year.”
And just like that, the sense of accomplishment disappeared. Poof.
But then I take a breath, and remind myself that maybe, just maybe, the Spirit’s nudges should be trusted at least a little bit.
It isn’t just for weddings.
Honestly, this isn’t something I learned as part of this year’s study of love. I think this part of scripture gets shortchanged as “that wedding chapter that’s in the Bible.” I mean, I get why it’s used for weddings so much. Heck, it was part of my wedding readings back in 1995.
“First Corinthians 13 is worth reading at a wedding because it doesn’t describe married love, or mother love, or brotherly love, but the love that is the point and purpose of being human.” Kate Braestrup, Huffington Post. The greatest of these. The most excellent way of love is the point and purpose of being human. Paul sets the bar really high with this description of love, because it’s God’s love he’s describing. I don’t care how often that’s used at weddings: that can never be too cliché.
Throwing it back to one of my first posts in the series:
“1 Corinthians 13 was not written with a wedding ceremony in mind. It’s not meant to give us warm, fuzzy feelings. This chapter is Paul’s word of rebuke to a church marked by great miracles and charisma, but by little maturity and character.” Rich Villodas
I used to think 1 Corinthians 13 was talking about weddings. Now I know that the most excellent way of love is not just for people that are married.
I used to think, but now I know.
Speaking of “I used to think, but now I know” statements, there are a few more that sum up the most important things I’ve learned about love from 1 Corinthians 13:
- I used to think that the things I did made the most difference. Now I know that the love I walk in as I do the things matters most. Using the gifts I’ve been given to the best of my ability is no longer the evidence I look to for a life well-lived. The love (or lack thereof) I use those gifts with is what matters most.
- I used to think I’d know what love is by what it is. Now I know that love can be best understood by what it isn’t.
- I used to think that love was just a feeling. Now I know that love takes plenty of doing. What I do displays what I love. Love is as love does.
- I used to think that “love never fails” was some unattainable thing I’ll never reach so why bother trying. Now I know it as a promise I can count on.
I guess the biggest thing I’ve learned about love is that I still have A LOT to learn. I have an eternity to figure it out. I’m thinking that’s kind of the point.
I wonder what next year’s word will be?
Becky is a Miami native, and has lived here all of her life. Married to her husband for over 20 years, they lead a very active lifestyle along with their three teenagers and Riley, their rescue dog. Becky loves to teach, and has had the awesome privilege of home educating her children for over twelve years. When not teaching academics, Becky loves to equip, encourage, and empower women through the teaching of her group fitness classes. Becky and her husband lead various ministries, and their family loves to serve the community through the countless opportunities provided over the past twenty years+ in their local church. She enjoys filling her "free" time with reading, writing, watching movies, and just spending time with the family. Becky has a passion for living her life with grit and grace, and encouraging others to do the same.
Used with permission from Becky Gonzalez.