1 Corinthians 13 is probably one of the most well-known passages in the Bible. It’s been read aloud at countless weddings, printed on bookmarks, and sewn into pillows. It was even the subject of a bet between Owen Wilson’s and Vince Vaughn’s characters in the movie Wedding Crashers.
The passage I’m referring to is the one in which Paul spells out the definition of love — “Love is patient, love is kind…” We’ve all heard it, but that might be part of the problem. It’s become such a familiar part of our culture that its details have become lost. It’s an invaluable gem hiding in plain sight.
I really began evaluating my personal definition of love a few months ago when night after night I left work with a whole lot of stress and just a little patience. I was overwhelmed, and to my family I constantly seemed tired and irritable. Even worse, at times I even made them feel like they were the cause of my irritation. I would look forward to seeing my wife and son all day, but by the time I walked through the front door the wick on my candle was all but burned out.
Then God hit me with just a single piece of the love passage — “Love is patient” — and it convicted me. It’s so easy to say you love someone, but when your actions are suddenly challenged by God’s standards it’s a humbling experience. Suddenly I didn’t see 1 Corinthians 13 as a pop culture reference, but rightfully as the Word of the God who is love personified.
And he is loving. What’s one way I know? He’s patient with me. Like a good dad who doesn’t respond harshly to every immature thing his children do, God waits out my failures and patiently teaches me to be more like him.
So what’s your definition of love? Take some time to read 1 Corinthians 13 and evaluate your own standards to see how well they align with God’s.