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[Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:7–8
Her voice shook as she shared the problems she was having with her daughter. Worried about her teenager’s questionable friends, this concerned mum confiscated her daughter’s mobile phone and chaperoned her everywhere. Their relationship seemed only to go from bad to worse.
When I spoke with the daughter, I discovered that she loves her mum dearly but is suffocating under a smothering love. She longs to break free.
As imperfect beings, we all struggle in our relationships. Whether we are a parent or child, single or married, we grapple with expressing love the right way, saying and doing the right thing at the right time. We grow in love throughout our lifetime.
In 1 Corinthians 13 the apostle Paul outlines what perfect love looks like. His standard sounds wonderful, but putting that love into practice can be absolutely daunting. Thankfully, we have Jesus as our example. As He interacted with people with varying needs and issues, He showed us what perfect love looks like in action. As we walk with Him, keeping ourselves in His love and steeping our mind in His Word, we’ll reflect more and more of His likeness. We’ll still make mistakes, but God is able to redeem them and cause good to come out of every situation, for His love “always protects” and it “never fails” (vv. 7–8).
Lord, our intentions are good but we fail each other in so many ways. Thank You for being our model in showing us how to live and love.
To show His love, Jesus died for us; to show our love, we live for Him.
Do you ever find yourself hurting those you love, and maybe even forgetting in the emotion of the moment how much you really do care about them? If so, keep in mind that long before Paul wrote 1 Corinthians 13 he was an angry man who was mindlessly hurting the God he thought he knew and loved (Acts 9:1–6). So what brought about Paul’s change? First he needed to see how wrong he’d been about Jesus. He also needed to see that knowing the law is not the same as keeping it—and that he himself needed not only mercy but also the help of the Spirit of God to love others as God loved him. The Spirit who brought him from law to grace now invites and leads us into the loving patience and kindness that our Lord wants to express in and through us.