Monday, February 15, 2010

Ooops! Is This Valentine's Day a Little Too Late?

Well, no.

Not if you love someone.

I mean, really love them.

But sometimes it takes a while to realise you really love someone.

Years in fact.

Witness from the classic Fiddler on the Roof:

I guess what we usually think of love is a feeling of romance. The thrill, the excitement.

But when someone knows all your sins, your failings and refuses to leave you, it is a deeper, more meaningful kind of love. It is the true love for the person, not their attributes (physical or mental), but themselves.

Don't worry - we humans usually start with the eros and have to learn the other - as I said, it takes time.

My parents had this kind of love, now that I think about it. After my mother died, my father found another wife who loves him just as he is - and visits him daily in a nursing home.

To see what real love is like, I present the oft-quoted passage from I Corinthians 13. Please keep in mind it was a wise old Jew who was locked up in prison for preaching that wrote this. He'd learned love was not based on performance, but on kindness and acceptance.

I Corinthians 13 [NLT]
If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.

If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when full understanding comes, these partial things will become useless.

When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

Three things will last forever — faith, hope, and love — and the greatest of these is love.

It is.

May you find God's true love for you, even if it takes years.


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