The first gift of the Spirit according to Galatians 5:22-23 is Love. I can’t discuss Love and the Bible and not cite 1 Corinthians 13:4-13. Love is the THING. God is Love. I am writing this entry after a few weeks of starting Lent. I am typing these words as I listen for my daughter in her bedroom because she has already thrown up twice. I listen to my husband cleaning downstairs after we got into a fight today about housework. I write this about Love, because Love is the only thing. Love is the hard work of life with infinite rewards and incomprehensible work attached.
I have twisted 1 Corinthians around my fingers like a twine, pencil, or a toy for years. I have played with the various translations. I have learned that Love is patient is often also translated as Love suffers long and is kind. I have had to learn to be patient while suffering for the sake of love.
Before I get carried away on a tangent about my own personal life and how my Love has had to endure countless setbacks, and pain. I want to say this. Unconditional Love is Love with the blinders removed and the rose colored glasses put away. Unconditional Love is Love that is only pruned by the hand of experience, suffering, and acceptance. Unconditional Love cannot flourish until a person accepts another human being completely with warts, shortcomings, handicaps, diseases, etc. It is the stuff of life that hardly any cinema captures completely. And, in my experience, unconditional Love can only be achieved by the Grace of God or by the power of the Spirit. Look at 1 Corinthians 13:4-13 below:
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. 6 Love 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.
That definition of Love is completely altruistic and asks for nothing in return. That is one of the truest indicators of Unconditional Love. If the actions I do are done only for Love with no expectation of repayment in any form. I Love because it is in my nature to Love, or more precisely as a Christian as accepting of the fruit of the Spirit. I am compelled to Love because of what God has shown me and done for me. Love is the ultimate expression of compassion to another human being.
Love is the first fruit of the Spirit and according to so many across the expanse of time, and the universe, Love is the first, last and only thing.
John 13:34: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
(Just after I wrote the above scripture, my daughter threw up again. My stomach is back talking me right now. I think Corinthians forgot to mention Love sustains through vomit. Have a blessed, and healthy night.)