True Love Is…

1 cor 13

A personal paraphrase of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, chapter thirteen.

If I speak eloquently in English or in tongues,
     but don’t saturate my speech with LOVE,
          I’m just so much noise.

If I have a powerful prophetic gifting and can read everyone’s mail,
     if I have all the right theology
                    with perfect chapter-and-verse understanding,
          if I even have revelations that no one else does,
               if I have powerful faith and see miracles regularly–
but don’t act in LOVE,
     all my knowledge is useless and my life is meaningless.

If I give everything away in pursuit of radical simplicity and generosity,
          if I even volunteer for persecution and martyrdom–
but do it all from wrong motivation outside of LOVE,
               it’s a meaningless gesture and I gain no reward.

True love is always patient and kind.
     True love doesn’t resent another’s success
               or brag about its own.
          True love doesn’t think too much of itself
                    or put others down.
True love doesn’t insist on its right to be right,
                    but goes low to honour others.
     True love never resents others.
True love doesn’t celebrate sin,
                    but celebrates the truth.

True love stands strong under pressure,
     embraces childlike faith,
          clings to vivid hope,
               and presses on through every obstacle.

True love never ends.

The gifts of prophecy and tongues will one day become unnecessary,
     and human knowledge will one day be obsolete.
Right now, our knowledge and prophetic understanding is limited,
     but when the fullness without limits comes,
          that which was limited will no longer be needed.
When I was a child, all of my thought processes were immature.
     Now that I am an adult and can think maturely,
          I no longer think like I used to.
Our life now is like looking in a foggy mirror,
     but one day we will have perfect clarity,
          like seeing face to face.
Now I can know only in a limited way,
     but one day the limits will be removed and I will know fully,
          even as God has always known me fully.

Faith,
     hope,
          love
these are the three things that last,
     but the greatest of the three is
          always
LOVE.

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