I excitedly discussed my plans for this series with Angel, one of my closest friends in church. We had served in the ushering ministry for the youth service, and I had never expected then the weight of the friendship we’d be having now. She’s one of the few people (amidst huge and many circles of friends that I’ve made in my entire lifetime) who, and I say this with certainty, I can always trust to steer me back in the right direction, spiritually speaking. She is privy to many of my struggles and I have never been disappointed coming to her.
My invitation was pretty simple: I sent her our reference passage in list form and asked her to pick out specific qualities she would like to write about. But as we discussed further, we agreed that before going on to the specifics of what Love Is, it’s just right that we offer a backgrounder first.
Which brings us here. What can you expect from this introductory (with a long intro)? Here we look at: who the recipients of the letter were, what motivated Paul to send the letter, how it applies to our time and God’s role in all of this.
The Corinthians were the most corrupt people at the time Paul wrote his letters. Homosexuality and other types of sin seemed to be an everyday thing for these folks. They are known to be the most sexually immoral people of their time!
No wonder Paul saw the need to redefine LOVE. For this word never exists in a world of flesh, and that world is not different from ours today. And whoever said it first said it right - history repeats itself. Sexual immorality is just as prevalent as before.
Society now says that it’s alright to be sexually immoral because it’s a right to express oneself. Sin is now something that people should flaunt, rather than hide. The world today even encourages people to come out and expose their dirty laundry to the world. Hey, it’s okay to sin and there’s nothing wrong about it! The world had become so twisted that being righteous was something people is ashamed of. Sin has become the ticket to the world’s acceptance. This doesn’t come as a shocker because the world was set up to have sin rule and reign.
As Christians in a Corinthian setting, it’s important for us to understand that while we are in this world, we are not of this world. We are set apart, made clean and holy by what Jesus has done on the cross. We could never do it by collecting good deeds and founding charities. Even though we give our bodies and sacrifice for others it’s all for nothing, if we didn’t have Christ (1Corinthian 13:3).
What sets us apart from everyone is love - it’s because we have love. We have God. Love is who God is (1 John 4:8). Love is a character of God.
Going through Psalms, we learn that we praise God for two things: who He is and what He does. And 1 Corinthians 13 is all about who God is. 1 John 4:8 says God is love. Therefore, whenever the word love is mentioned here in the Love is passage we must remember that it is all God.
God is patient
God is kind
God does not envy
God does not boast
God is not proud
God is not rude
God is not irritable
God does not keep records of wrong
God does not rejoice in evil
God rejoices with the truth
God always protects, hopes, trusts and perseveres
God never fails
Paul listed many not’s in the passage, and with this perspective we clearly see the contrasts of the world’s view of love. As a word it’s often abused and misunderstood. Many try to define love through deeds – the things we do or give to those we are in a relationship with.
A diamond ring, for example, is known to represent the kind of love that gets people to tie the knot. Here in this passage, Paul explains what love is to the people who are so ignorant and blinded by the world. He emphasizes that love is more than just gifts, deeds, lust, sex or emotions. Love is God and as Christians we are expected to have this kind of love to be more like God. We are expected to possess these traits of love, and not follow that which is defined by human standards.
This introductory post was written by Angel Javale, of which all views are supported by the facilitator of this blog.