1 Corinthians 13:4-6
A verse that is loved by many, Paul tells us what love really is:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, (love) is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.” -1 Corinthians 13:4-6, NAB
Throughout this verse, Paul teaches us what it really means to love. He tells us what it is, and what it is not. The focus of love, as it is repeated in this verse, is not on ourselves, but instead on the ones we love.
Love is not what we get, but what we give. Our society has become one that is constantly focused on what others can do for us, but our focus must change. If we love someone, we must give our love to that person without any strings attached, and we must accept whatever love they give us in return, no matter how imperfect it may be. We may try to love perfectly, but only Christ is capable of perfect love. So then, as others accept us for the imperfect love that we share, we should accept their love in return.
In relationships, we often spend too much time looking at the mistakes of the other person. We are quick to tell them how they have fallen short of our expectations, and quick to forget all of the great ways that they have shown us love. How do you feel when someone seems to only point out your imperfections? How do you feel when someone seems to forget all that you have done for them?
Christ loves us, but He has no imperfections. He gave everything for us, but we seem to forget all that He has done. Instead, we focus on what we do not have, instead of the many blessings that He has given us. Only when we begin to see this can we learn to love others more fully. When we see the love of Christ, we can more fully see the love of others. When we see everything Christ gave for us, we can more fully give our love.
Our love is not perfect; it never will be. But, with our hearts turned to Christ, we can learn to love despite our imperfections and the imperfections of others. Can you learn to love?