Saturday, March 5, 2016

Who, what, whether

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal… 
1 Corinthians 13:1

Who it is that we love, or what we love, or whether we love at all, this is what is revealed about us at the judgment. This is a scary thought. We may love one person in public, another in private. The same with belongings, with things, we may love one set openly, another set in secret. We can’t even be sure whether we love at all. Our vision is clouded by a self-ignorance that we think is knowing ourselves, but it is a veil covering our eyes. If we see at all, it is truly as through a glass darkly. Neither are we born loving. We must be taught how to love, but we cannot be taught if we reject the Teacher.

Life in the world can experience love and recognize it when it sees it, but it cannot accumulate it, cannot practice it, can only imitate it, unsuccessfully. To save face the failure or absence of love is still called love. Pious pretence replaces reality until a numbness sets in. Then real love is no longer recognized, or believed in, or wanted. This is the path of life in the world. Not all drugs are chemical in nature.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus… 
1 John 4:16-17

The direction of the Christian’s life is Godward. At first, we love little but speak love much. We defend ourselves from what we think is contrary to love. If we are going in the right direction, we love more and speak love less. We start out wanting to be loved, and end up wanting to love.

Our human nature changes. From being defensive, we move on to being defenseless. From proving and justifying ourselves, we move on to becoming the proof and justification of love. As we journey towards the judgment of our souls, we retreat from the judgment of others. Our love becomes transparent to others and invisible to ourselves. We are aware of only one thing, one being, the beloved. With the bride we exclaim,

Draw me in your footsteps. Let us run… 
Song of Songs 1:4

Yes, whom we have truly loved will be seen at the scrutiny of souls. The undiscovered, unfaithful spouse will be exposed, and also revealed will be the one accused, yet innocent. Time will be rolled back in a split second to show us what we have wasted, and what kept us divided, hating. It was next to nothing, but nothing can be very powerful when we feed it, while greed shrivels the soul.

As we move toward the beginning of the good news, brethren, let us love one another, and casting aside all thought of justice, cast ourselves defenseless into the sea of God’s mercy, so that all can be cleansed, healed, refreshed, and enlightened by the God who is love.

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… 
1 Corinthians 13:4-8

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