1 Corinthians 13
1 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b]but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 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. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Whenever I think about or refer to this passage, I simply must include the whole chapter. Every time we hear this reading in church, we only hear From 13:4-6, and maybe 13:13. Everything else is eliminated. Very sad because there is so much more to hear here that is really important. The one time I had control over this was when the DH and I got married. We had the whole reading included and that made us very happy.
I often wonder why we do not get the benefit from this beautiful passage and the only reason I can guess at is that church officials really do think we are sheep and maybe don’t have the brains to grasp and appreciate the full meaning. Even I, with my limited understanding, understand that if I don’t have love, I have nothing. I am nothing. And that does mean that if nobody loves me I have nothing. It means that if I do not have love within myself to give to others, I have nothing. Hmm, very interesting. Love seems to have more weight than even faith, which I find shocking, but there it is:
and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3
Amazing. I can have the strongest faith in the Lord, but if I do not have love inside myself, love for my neighbors, I am nothing in the eyes of God. Truly amazing. I’m going to “amaze” myself out of readers if I keep this up, but the capacity for learning never ceases to amaze me (couldn’t resist that last one).
Anyway, this passage popped up today while I was commenting on another blog. I was expressing my hope that my son will, later on in life if not sooner, will recognize the love we, his parents, have for him and how much it has influenced every bit of our marriage and our efforts on his behalf to make him a better life. It’s our hope that no matter what happens, no matter what we do, he will know that everything said, everything done was done out of love. We hope that our love for him will shine through all the disagreements and arguments, all the times we need to say “no”. All the times we make him do his homework, do his chores, practice his social skills using the tools he collects along the way. Well, it’s our desire for him to truly understand what love is. Can he feel it? Yes. Are we sure that he knows what it is, or ever will? The jury is still out on that because we do not fully understand the traits of Autism, in particular his lack of empathy; and we certainly do not know how severe of a lack that is in him. He can learn, or I should ask: Can he learn about love just has he learns social skills? How can we, or CAN we differentiate these kind of emotional, age appropriate, milestones? We hardly know what is age appropriate, let alone what would be age appropriate for an autistic child.
I find myself verbalizing a lot. My new thing is to constantly ask my little guy to repeat back his understanding of different things, whether it be word definitions or emotions, or anything I get the impression needs work.
But maybe sometimes we fail love. Thank goodness love is without condition or I’d be a really sad person right now. I am putting a lot, no all of my eggs in the basket of love. I’m so afraid of failing my child. Is this too much of an expectation to place on my love for him? I am wondering, but even as I do, I know that I have help. My husband’s love for our son is amazing and in some ways out shines my own. His perpetual love and consideration is amazing and so matter of fact, as if he’s been doing it all his life, so integrated into his nature… so natural, no questions (or answers) needed. When I picked this man as my life partner and as the father of my children, I not only picked a keeper, I picked a winner… so unusual for me… lol. Thank God that for one time in my life, I made a good assessment of the opposite sex.
So where do I go from here? First and foremost, never give up on love. Love really does conquer all and this family is living proof. Second, always trust my judgement , but also DH’s judgement. He is a very deep person and his motives are not always apparent, and almost never verbalized…. which leads me to the next. Always ask questions. I’m always amazed at what I learn.