If I was really smart and studied and knew about many things, but don't have love.....I'm just annoying.
If I understand things of the Bible and mysteries of God and have great faith, but I don't have love....I am nothing.
If I give stuff to those less fortunate, even if I gave them all of my possessions, but didn't have love...It was for nothing.
If I'm basically a good moral, law-abiding person, but don't love....I mean really LOVE....I'm doomed. Because love is greater than all those great things.
Here's what love is:
not easily angered
does not rejoice at wrongdoing
keeps no record of wrongs
doesn't delight in evil
rejoices with truth
bears all things
believes all things
endures all things
Can people say those things about me? Can I stick a "Heidi" in front of each of those? Heidi is patient. Heidi does not rejoice at wrong doing. Heidi keeps no record of wrongs. Heidi does not insist on her own way. Heidi perseveres. Heidi endures all things. Heidi never fails. Yeah....Heidi has a lot to work on.
I'm realizing that if love is selfless then it isn't measured by my gauge of comfortableness or happiness or peacefulness. My love is measured by how I act and treat others even when I feel they don't deserve it. It's not about getting, it's about giving. And just because you are the one doing the giving and letting the other person have their way doesn't mean you are weak. Anyone can do what they want. Babies do that. That takes no strength. Strength is showing humbled controlled resistance to your own will to benefit someone else.
The greatest act of love was Jesus dying in my place. He wasn't comfortable, or happy, or untroubled. It wasn't easy. It hurt! He bled! He died! It wasn't about what He would get out of the deal. It was about what He knew we would get out of the deal...life! It wasn't about His best interest. It was about our best interest.
And even though the process of showing love to others that we may feel don't deserve it may be uncomfortable, I have to believe that in the end there is joy and delight! When you do truly love someone, you find happiness in their happiness.
Here's the full passage from I Corinthians 13.
The Way of Love1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, butrejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.