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That night is very clear in my mind. She sat down with me, Bible in hand, turning the pages to 1 Corinthians 13. She wanted us to read it together. And so I read this passage about love with my (now ex-) girlfriend. To make a long story short, she said Paul’s interpretation of love was not an accurate description of our relationship, or of me and what I offered. She wanted out. And so it was over.
Allow me to take some liberties with 1 Corinthians 13:4-7:
Brett is patient, Brett is kind. He does not envy, he does not boast, he is not proud. Brett is not rude, nor is he self-seeking. Brett is not easily angered, he keeps no record of wrongs. Brett does not delight in evil, but he rejoices with the truth. He always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Brett never fails.
You know, I’m still not all of these things.
I’m reminded of a different girlfriend, though — the one who is now my wife. And I’m no longer remembering a single moment, but several. My wife sits down with me and acknowledges full well that I am not all of these things. But she sees my heart, she knows my intentions, and she recognizes my direction. Most of all, she is merciful and she is gracious. And in her great love (empowered by God himself), she keeps (or tries her best to keep) no record of wrongs. She perseveres. And she loves me. Just as love doesn’t give up, Christie doesn’t quit. She’s not perfect, but she loves me.
And isn’t that the point?
If all spouses were perfect, there would be no temptation to keep lists of wrongs. Why would one need to persevere if there were no obstacles to overcome? If every individual I knew was both steadfast and reliable, where would be the difficulty in trusting? I’m not suggesting love can only exist in an imperfect world. Rather I’m proposing that love is able to overcome an imperfect world. The answer to an imperfect relationship is not to run and find a perfect one; the answer is to love. And God, much like Christie (only better), demonstrates it time and time again.
Allow me again to take a few liberties with 1 Corinthians 13:4-7:
God is patient, God is kind. He does not envy, he does not boast, he is not proud. God is not rude, nor is he self-seeking. God is not easily angered, he keeps no record of wrongs. God does not delight in evil, but he rejoices with the truth. He always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. God never fails.
While there may one day be an evening in which God and I sit together reading the words of Paul, I am both confident and thankful he’ll never point to my many imperfections, while saying these words: I want out.
He loves me.
This post is the last in a series on love from chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians. You can find other posts here: