Love never fails to protect.
Love never fails to believe.
Love never fails to bring hope.
Love never fails to endure.
We reflected on how God didn’t fail to protect Adam and Eve in the garden, when he clothed them after their sin and new-found shame (Genesis 3:21). We talked about the father of the prodigal son, and how he watched for his son, believing for his return (Luke 15: 11-32), and the woman caught in the act of adultery, torn from her bed and shamed before an accusing crowd. Love paved the way for new hope as her tormentors dropped their stones (John 8). And finally, we talked about the ways that love endures. When we look at 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, we read about how we are to love:
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
But what happens when we switch out “love” with our own name?
Betsy is patient, Betsy is kind. Betsy does not envy……
Immediately, we become a liar. We are not patient. We are not kind. We are jealous, boastful, proud, rude, selfish, and angry. We want revenge more than truth, and we are far from protecting anyone but ourselves.
I am reminded of times when I want to keep one foot in the kingdom of self while awkwardly attempting to plant the other in the kingdom of God. Inevitably, the kingdom of self draws me in, and it is at those times that I find myself trapped behind self-constructed walls of anger, jealousy, bitterness, and spite. Disguised as self-preservation or even personal justification, the construction of such walls causes us to lose touch with our vulnerability, and ultimately, our true identity and purpose: we were created to love as Christ loved.
Only when these walls come crumbling down are we able to find our true selves again. But the crumbling process is often painful, and few choose to endure it. It is painful to see the monumental facade we have so carefully constructed being shattered in useless, futile pieces. Afraid of what we might find, we are quick to hide our faces from seeing what is exposed once the walls have fallen. And when we peek through our hands as the dust settles, we see that the love of Christ endures, and we are loved beyond comparison. We find the beauty that exists in the deepest parts of all of us—the love of God in its purest form. When it is no longer obstructed by fear, hiding, pride, or shame, it radiates.
Wall art courtesy of hopeink.