Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. I Corinthians 13:4-8
We crave love; from God and others. Because of our broken humanity, our display and understanding of love have become skewed. When we think of unhealthy human love, we tend to reverse the scripture above and see it lived out more like this: “Love is impatient and indifferent. It is jealous, boastful and proud. Love is rude, self-seeking, and easily angered, keeping a scorecard of wrongs committed. It delights in evil and deceit; it exposes, doubts, discourages and gives up. Love always fails.” Though a bit extreme, this display of “love” is not uncommon, and leaves us with a longing for love that does not wound nor die.
Love is not something we gain or earn, with the emphasis on effort and striving to keep it alive. Rather, it is something we give and receive, unconditionally. We need a better understanding.
In her book, “Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus”, Lois Tverberg explains a true, long-acting love, as taught in I Corinthians 13. The Hebrew word for this love is Hesed.
“Based in a covenantal relationship, hesed is a steadfast, rock-solid faithfulness that endures to eternity.
Hesed is love so enduring that it persists beyond any sin or betrayal to mend brokenness and
graciously extend forgiveness. Hesed is to love as God loves.”
The Way of Love
How do we love as God loves? We start by deepening our relationship with Him. As we come to understand HIS love for us, we are aware of what true love is (and what it is not). As we pull His love and acceptance into our hearts, we begin to pour out that same love into others. It’s a life-giving cycle of love taken in, love absorbed, love poured out.
We put into practice I Corinthians 13:4-8. When we fail, we shake out the wrong perspective and try again. We go for patience and kindness, humility and submission; we practice hope, trust, and perseverance. Little by little, step by step, we transform our understanding into God’s way and love becomes Hesed.
Following the way of love,
Mary Ethel Eckard