Love never fails…

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In a world where we are filled with stories of utter chaos, lives trampled, promises broken, hearts wounded and lives traumatized permanently, it seems a bitterly insensitive cliche to even utter those words, “love never fails”.

Yet, if we cannot say them in the depths of our sadness, or remember them amongst the turbulence we have suffered, what good are they? If they offer no comfort or light in the overwhelming darkness of our greatest fears realized, did we ever really believe them in the first place? John 13:35 says: “By this shall all men know you are my disciples, if you have love, one for another”. There’s a great song for this verse I learned way back when and,if you’re not already singing it, I encourage you to find the song online and see how fast it gets stuck in your head!

How shallow does love sit within us? Is it merely a surface word to be tossed about lightly and solely for approval from the majority, to whom we have no personal connection? Or is it alive and nestled deep within our soul, secure in the depths of our being, reinforced by the constant feeding and nourishing of people we choose to both give love to and receive love from?

Can love heal all wounds? Is there a mental list of unforgivable acts others could enact which we would then consider ourselves justifiable in withholding love from an individual or group of people? In the midst of our messiness, can we seek to abide by a higher standard and live to forgive?

Where does betrayal fall in all of this? Is it the messiest of all? Perhaps it is the easiest sin against us in which to judge and pronounce punishment in the form of holding back what should be given freely to all, regardless of their actions? Is it one place behind the line, does it cross the line of mercy and patience?

Love is patient, love is kind. Oftentimes, people are not. Passions run high and love seeps out. Records of wrong are kept and seethed over time and time again. Disappointment rules the day and apathy begins to overtake the soft, soothing waves of love. All is not lost.

We can hold ourselves to a higher standard. We were given a command to love! Love can be bold! Agape love is unconditional! Brotherly love can be lost, romantic love can be fleeting but His love? It is all consuming and all encompassing. We were not advised it would be simple for us to love, or told it would come easy. We were not suggested to love out of obligation or just when it feels right. Usually a command isn’t needed for that which comes naturally.

The Ancient of Days knew we would find challenge in love, both for ourselves and for others. The Creator knew in our broken humanity, we would find it much less painful to hate than forgive. He knew covering a wound with apathy would feel better to us than allowing an exposed wound to heal over time. There is a whole chapter in His word we refer to as “the love chapter” to remind us of the qualities of love because we will in our flesh, forget these things yet choose to remember the hurt!

When I was a child, another one of my absolute favorite songs at church both for the words and the rhythmic beat, (it was the only song I learned in church that used a tambourine and drums!) was, and please feel free to sing along, “They’ll know we are Christians by our love”. It really says it all so much better than I have done here. These are the lyrics as I learned them:

We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
And we pray that all unity may one day be restored

And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
They will know we are Christians by our love

We will work with each other, we will work side by side
We will work with each other, we will work side by side
And we’ll guard each one’s dignity and save each one’s pride

And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
They will know we are Christians by our love.

We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand
We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand
And together we’ll spread the news that God is in our land

And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
They will know we are Christians by our love

All praise to the Father, from whom all good things come,

And all praise to Christ Jesus, His only Son.

And all praise to the Spirit, Who makes us one.

And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love

Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.