Monday, April 8, 2013

So You Think 1Corithinans 13:4-8 "Kind of Love" Does Not Apply to Real Life?

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away." - 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

So many times I have been told the kind of love described in 1Cor 13:4-8 is practically impossible in today's marriages. They say that God can love us that way, and parents can love their kids that way, but that's it. Evidenced by either their parents or the couples they know "1Cor 13:4-8 love" just doesn't happen-at least not anymore. 

In defence of the scripture allow me to use Plato's Analogy of the cave:

Imagine several prisoners who have been chained up in a cave for all of their lives. They have never been outside the cave. They face a wall in the cave and they can never look at the entrance of the cave. Sometimes animals, birds, people, or other objects pass by the entrance of the cave casting a shadow on the wall inside the cave. The prisoners see the shadows on the wall and mistakenly view the shadows as reality.

The same applies to marriage and sometimes even your relationship with God. We think the problem is because wifey isn't submisive, added too much weight. hubby doesn't listen, he's emotionally unavailable. God, if only I had a better job I could serve you better; Just like the peeps in the cave, focused on the shadows on the wall.

It is my feeling that as Christians, we are constantly poised with the question "How far are you willing to go?"

We say God is good when the babies come on time, the boy, then the girl, cash flow is steady, He is supplying our needs and much more. Hubby showers you with attention and wifey is so sweet and peachy. This is real life.

But while you're waiting on the fruit of the womb and you even know it is because of some reckless act your spouse engaged in, in his or her past, or when hubby's business is experiencing a setback or when wifey seems to have refrained from being fun and jovial that we are presented the greatest opportunity to show compassion and patience, hence 1cor 13:4-8 Love. Note that this is real life too.

Throughout the New testament we observe the compassion, humility and patience of Jesus. With all that humanity displayed, in accordance to the Will of The Father he still died for us and if we are to be like him, this is how we have to live.

I've seen spouses and parents become spiritually and emotionally unavailable and blame it on the strain of real life. I've been there myself, where I couldn't even entertain the solution, because my brain was filled with vain information. I turned to books for answers but they offered none - Perhaps everybody else was just as empty.

Sometimes we pray but to whom? Often it is to the alter of ourselves. So often we are so focused on the shadows, with our backs turned to the light. Too "intelligent" to see it's us in the way.

If we open our hearts to the scriptures will reveal that pride and vanity stops us from expressing and experiencing love and life the 1cor 13:4-8 way. We need to repent and turn away from selfish motivation. We have to feel compassion and purposeful commitment to sacrificial action for each other and be that shoulder to cry on instead of focussing on simply being picture perfect. That's the way we are saved from the deceptive ideals of love and marriage that many of us hold.

We have to humbly un-learn a lot of what we know, and let God teach us, day by day, scripture by scripture, line upon line, precept upon precept.

Ijeoma Olujekun

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