Friday, March 25, 2011

The Greatest of These is Love

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
I Corinthians 13:13
Why does it say in I Corinthians that the greatest of these is love? I'm not a theologian, but I think it is because People are so important to God, and love is something we can do right now among each other.  I also think this is the hardest one, of the three listed here, to do.  Faith and hope are wonderful, but if you really want to try something great, try loving someone else the same way God loves us.  That is quite a challenge.  

I've met a few "difficult to love" type people through the years.   Sometimes it feels like trying to hug a porcupine, just being around them.  One time I was around a prickly porcupine type of woman on a weekly basis.  Her words were like poison aimed with precision into the hearts of anyone around her.  I resigned myself to expect her to hurt my feelings in some way each week I saw her, and week after week she did not disappointed.  I was actually proud of myself each time an encounter with her was over and I had succeeded in never telling her off or putting her in her place.  I thought I was doing well to just not return her sarcastic comments.  I realized later, I didn't really accomplish anything great doing this though. This wasn't really loving her, it was just enduring her.   I had avoided conflict, kept the peace, maintained my own self control and learned a lot about resisting temptation and holding my tongue... but I never really LOVED her.  I don't know for sure, but this may be why LOVE is the greatest one on the list.  It's really difficult to do. 

And  just think... God extended this kind of difficult, unconditional love to us without measure.   It is us, humanity, who are the prickly ones.  It was painful for Christ to love us, but he did it anyway.  Amazing. I am in awe of this kind of love.  It is too GREAT to comprehend.

by Cheryl  Harris White
Acrylic Collage on Canvas
81/2" x 11"