As I typed the title of this post, I heard that "classic" song from the movie Night at the Roxbury in my head, complete with pumping bass and head-bopping side-to-side. What is love? Baby don't hurt me, don't hurt me, no more. Woh-e-oh oh-e-oh-oh oh-e-oh-oh... The funny thing is, I think that song about sums it up! Love doesn't hurt anyone.
These past couple weeks, I've been praying that God will teach me something new about love for this series. As always, He was faithful to answer. And as usual, not in the way I was hoping for. I had planned on Him showing me new passages in the Bible about love, giving me new understanding and revelation. But God knows how I really learn my lessons, so He gave a week full of practical application - one opportunity after another - in addition to many more that did not get posted - to be loving (in spite of my natural inclination to be...um, witchy).
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. ~1 Corinthians 13:1-3So I began putting it all together in my head:
- speak in tongues
- be a prophet
- have great faith
- give generously
- be a martyr
(1 Corinthians 13:1-3)
But if I:
- am not patient and kind
- am envious, boastful, or proud
- am rude and self-seeking
- am easily angered
- keep track of wrongs
- delight in evil
- don't rejoice in truth
- do not protect, trust, or hope
- do not persevere
(1 Corinthians 13:4-8a)
- am basically an annoying banging noise
- am nothing
- will gain nothing
(back to verses 1-3)
My track record is running at about 50-50. When the extraordinary (and obvious) challenges crop up I find that I am able to be loving to those around me. But in the day-to-day ordinary stuff (for example, 3 out of 4 children being horrifically cranky and painfully slow at getting ready this morning), I am a clanging cymbal.
I have a lot to learn about love. And it makes me wonder, is it even possible to exhibit the other fruits of the Spirit without love? I mean, aren't they (the fruits) all really just the facets of love Paul describes in I Corinthians? Do you think the fruits are listed in this order on purpose?
Do you see why I've been having trouble coming up with a coherent post here?! My brain, it is a-whirring!
What is love? Baby don't hurt me, don't hurt me, no more...