If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 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 do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. ( 1 Corinthians 13: 1-8 NIV).
This scripture is known as the love scripture, and I believe is one of the hardest scriptures to live out. It does not dishonor others, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered. Those alone take me down on a regular basis. I don’t even want to talk about not keeping records of wrongs.
Love is hard.
Love seems so soft and fuzzy, but it challenges us to love the family member who won’t do things our way, the co-worker who doesn’t get things done on time, and the church in the midst of upheaval. This list could easily go on.
Just saying love is hard brings faces to mind, faces of people with hearts and minds who deserve love and compassion. These are the same faces of people who drive me crazy. They don’t think like I do. They don’t behave like I would. They seem selfish.
The truth is these are faces of broken people who have stories, heartaches and dreams. Maybe, they are struggling with mental illness or addiction. Maybe, they are from an ethnic or religious background that I don’t understand. Maybe, they are mean and hurtful. Am I willing to do the hard choice and love them anyway. Love them not on my terms, but as the scriptures tell me. Love is hard.
For me, I am hanging on the words is not dishonoring. This is where God is convicting me. Where is God convicting you? Who is the person in your life God is challenging you to love more fully? Are you willing to accept the challenge? I am.
How have you learned to love in hard places? Share your experience and encourage us.