Tuesday, June 13, 2006

what the world needs now: a self-inventory

often when we hear something multiple times, it hinges on the fact that we probably need the reminders, but the message begins to sound stale.

and so was my frame of mind as i encountered 1 corinthians 13 the other evening. a certain swagger of manner upon turning to the page. a clearing of the throat like one who has something important to contribute or about to give an expertly opinion. a chapter dedicated to love. the most recited passage in weddings. i could almost feel the chip on my shoulder before i commenced my reading because i thought i knew what this chapter was about. read on. internal monologue captured in parentheses.

love is patient and kind. (duh.)

love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. (not feeling very any of these today- but then again, i think i was cutting in a comment with my coworker rob.)

love does not demand its own way. (gulp. what was that? but i like things a certain way. hmm, must ruminate further.)

love is not irritable and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. (so you mean i'm actually supposed to toss that checklist of offenses and i have to not be annoyed when things don't go the way i plan?)

it is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. (i totally agree with this. but really only when the truth is on my side.)

love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (sometimes i expect the worst to happen, less frequently as time goes on. but the enduring through every circumstance- that may be the easiest and hardest phrase of all here)

and i survey this list finding myself coming up so short, wondering if i have ever truly loved anyone more than myself. because in the end love also requires putting others before us and dying to self. who really wants to die to self in tangible ways? because i think deep down i don't think i would be alone in the "loveless" boat. the body shrieks for something and we cave in. it's as simple as that.

but here's what i love about a relationship with God. he hears all the subtext and internal monologue and LOVES me. messy, old, unfinished selfish me. he actually loves me in the 1 cor. way because as psalm 103 stipulates, he KNOWS us, knows how we are from dust and so quickly gone. He provides a model in a world of syrupy-hollywood-pop music-bopping love. i can learn to love because of the love He models and gives to me and you so freely. and there's always the second and thirtieth chances to make it right. for me to be just a bit more like His son who loved fully, with eyes wide open. how i want to love like Him! and that is something worth getting excited about.


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