II PETER 15
LOVE NEVER FAILS, IF YOU DON’T FAIL IT
Because of the importance of the subject of “love”, which in its complete form is the personality of God, I want to take time to examine it very closely, and perhaps remove some of the misconceptions people have about it. The most erudite description of it is the one given by Paul in I Corinthians 13. The first thing that strikes the reader here is all of the things that “love” is NOT.
Most literature about the subject makes it something which the one having it enjoys and is pleased by. We tend to “love” those things which give us pleasure and make us feel good. This is true, but true love is something quite other than that which pleases me. To find true love there are many things which I must remove from my personality, characteristics which block true love.
To begin, Paul says that love is patient. In talking to people about this, nearly everyone confesses that they have a real problem maintaining patience. Before condemning the action of another, we should always consider two things: (a) What are the pressures and the capabilities of the person, and (b) Have there not been occasions when I did the same thing? Many times I have been suddenly angry at something that someone else did, only to realize that I had done the same thing myself. It takes a strong sense of patience to make me wait and weigh all circumstances before I make judgements.
Then Paul says, “Love is kind”. A loving individual never hurts another person’s feelings, no matter what the situation. If I love someone I will always be kind to them, never harsh and hurtful.
“Vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up”…these words have to do with how one who loves views himself in relation to others. I once had a golf partner that everyone always said was a “perfect gentleman”. The reason for that was that whenever you complimented him on anything he did, he would always tell you something that you did better. Never would he allow himself to be rated better than others around him. A lover is not interested in having more than you have, whether it is money, power, talent, or recognition.
Then Paul says, “rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in truth”. We humans often are secretly glad to find something at fault in another person because it makes us feel better about ourselves. The Bible says we should rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those that weep. I have found that people find it easier to weep with those who are in trouble than to rejoice with those who are successful. Again, it is the problem of wanting to feel better about myself when others make mistakes, do evil, or have problems. Love only rejoices when others find the truth and it makes life better for them.
The Apostle closes his dissertation on love by saying the one who is mature enough to truly love has found perfection. That is why John says God is love. In relation to the great importance of faith to the Christian and of the hope that is ours in Christ, nothing compares to being enveloped by and showing love in our lives. It is the answer to all problems, it is the optimistic power that makes us able to endure all things in life. It will cause me to believe that God can love even a sinner like me.
The final word is that I must stop believing that I am the most important one and that what pleases me, relieves my pain, builds my ego, and makes me important is the ultimate goal of life. We are creatures, and we exist for His purposes, not ours. Only when we realize this and act accordingly can we ever truly love God, and love our neighbor as ourselves. And, according to Jesus Himself, that is the summation of God’s will. Not rules and regulations, but a life that is lived by the rules and standards of love.