L’amore a la mode

Being that as of this posting it is Valentines Day, I figured I’d try and make this a bit relevant to people who are swooning or moping on this very very joyous and celebratory day (yeah right).

Love in the world today is a 3 letter word. Sex. (Yay, my google rating just shot through the roof) I know this is a subject thats been beaten over the head by many a conservative religious nutbag, but its still true. Too often, the physical side of romance and affection becomes identified as the essence of love itself when in fact it is merely an extension of it.

This post is NOT going to be a “Dont have sex” post, because frankly I dont care (that and ill write about it later on when i do). However, I will try to give you some idea as to what I believe real love is and what it means to love someone.

Everyone knows 1 Corinthians 13. Its the Christian definition of love and the “ideal” to which all love is supposedly juxtaposed. However, the problem is: a) its quoted way too often by people who haven’t a clue and b) its often not understood because people dont have a clue, which is a running theme in the world I’ve noticed. So in this article I would like to go through this short and powerful little chapter in the bible and see what I come up with.

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

I believe that Paul here is talking to the people out there who are like many teenagers and college kids nowadays. The word love is batted about so often and so frequently that it has lost its meaning. Here, it describes for us what it really means to speak of love without true love emanating from behind it. It is of no more use to anyone that some banging cymbal, loud and obnoxious. It can hurt people’s ears and deafen them to ever hear real music. I.e. Saying “I love you” merely to get someone to go to dinner with you or to get laid can, and does often, kill someone’s reception to love. Because of the loud noise, the deafening sound, true music, real love, will fall on deaf ears.

1 Corinthians 13:2
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

(Note: prophecy in the new testament means knowledge/wisdom/teaching, not foreseeing the future as many Pentecostals would have you believe) Here I believe Paul is again speaking to the hypocrites, those who do not truly love. However, this time hes speaking to those who would consider themselves wise and above normal understanding, as opposed to the previous verse in which he spoke to people who speak foolishly. Take a look and some of the most educated people in the world. Some of them know vast amounts of knowledge and are exalted all over the world for their expertise and guidance. And some of these same people have no one to love because they have become so obsessed with their career or consider themselves above such menial ideals. These people often lament in their solitude all the past loves they had and curse their present because they are alone in the world with no one to trust. They become nothing by way of refusing the love of their fellow man, platonic love or otherwise.

1 Corinthians 13:3
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

This is kind of the same as the last verse, but again has a difference slant. Here its speaking to the Pharisees among us who loudly proclaim their love for mankind, but deep in their heart only care about themselves and how it will profit them. Look at Hollywood starlets for example. Most of them (if not all) participate in charity benefits and such, not because they actually care for the poor and downtrodden, but to raise their popularity and get on the covers of magazines. And when they do, what do a lot of people think of them? Alot of them say, “Those egotistical so-and-sos, they are using the poor for their own gain!” It nets the starlet only respect from those who dont care, or those who cant see whats really going on. And from them, respect means little more than a popularity contest. Real respect is lost, the real profit is forfeit.

1 Corinthians 13:4
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;

Now we come to the real heart of the matter, the real definitions of what true love really is. Love suffers long and is kind. Love is not some kind of fad or passing fancy for someone. It doesn’t dissolve merely because someone forgot to get your chocolates on the anniversary of the first time you two bought pants together. It suffers through things, and yes, you can take that literally husbands. If your mate is annoying, so what? You must love her if you say so. If you dont want to, see verse 1 and dont say you love her. Love is kind and does not say harsh words or lie or cheat or steal. It does not envy. Love does not envy the relationship others have because it sees itself as a special relationship between you and another person that can never be duplicated every again, and it appreciates that fact. It does not parade itself, or strut in front of others. This applies to those of you with trophy women and men. You can not have love if you simply wish to show off what you have and what others do not. It is not puffed up and does not brag about how wonderful it is. It recognizes its own greatness and is confident that its acts will speak for themselves to others.

1 Corinthians 13:5
does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;

Love does not behave like an animal. (I would think that this should apply to anal sex, but what can I do?) It does not embarrass the other person, it does not seek to make a fool out of the one or both of you. It does not seek its own is a powerful and often overlooked statement so ill say it again and in bold. Love does not seek its own. But whats that mean? It means love does not love love. I.e. it doesn’t want to get together with someone simply for the comfort in the fact you are being loved. People are way too addicted to being in love instead of focusing on loving. This simple distinction could save millions from heartbreak, breakups, and divorces. People will spend more time and energy keeping a relationship together instead of merely loving the other person, they place the relationship above their mate. Love is not provoked into anger… well easily anyway. Its a fact that unfaithfulness and the like will cause anger, but provoking here is more like poking someone in the side over and over. Love does not become hostile for small grievances like leaving the toilet seat up. (AHEM!) Love thinks no evil. Pure love, true and infallible love can think, nor by extension do, any evil. This goes into the whole “God is Love” thing which i wont get into here, but it should go without saying that there is no love in evil.

1 Corinthians 13:8
Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.

Far and away this is my favorite verse in the entire world. There is immense power in these three little words, but they sum up the universe, God, life, the bible, everything in its entirety. Love Never Fails. Ever. Love is never ending. So when someone says they love you and you cant feel eternity echoing in their words, then their words are meaningless and more then likely so are they. This phrase will accompany me every-time i try to interpret the scriptures so remember it.

This verse goes on to say that everything else in the universe, even us and our memories will fade away. But love will endure past the end of time. Perhaps this could also lead into conjecturing that since only love is eternal, God is eternal, and all who follow him (since they are wanting to be like him, are filled with love and not evil) will become eternal. Which is interesting, I will have to look into that for some later article.

1 Corinthians 9-10
For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

Simply put, we dont know everything. It would be ridiculous to think that we did. We can only know and thereby teach in part of the whole and not the whole itself. Perfection, we are told, comes from the two commandments Jesus told the Pharisees and apostles when he was asked what he considered the greatest commandment to be. Those are, love God with all you are, and also love your neighbor as your own self. With perfection comes a destruction of all that is not perfect. Your incompleteness will cease and your completeness will begin. This of course is talking more than likely about the nature of God and christianity but it also can be applied to relationships. Perfecting can be replaced with true love and “part” can be replaced with “dashed hopes and dreams.” So when true love is found, the demons that plague you will vanish.

1 Corinthians 13:11
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

And so here it is. Paul is wrapping this up now with a call to maturity. When we look at two 5 year olds, a boy and a girl, who kiss each other on the cheek and give each other flowers, we cant help but smile and think how adorable they are. And we find humor in their “break ups” when they decide to not play house that day. But when they grow up into teenagers and they still possess the same level of relationship maturity of 5 year olds, we look on them with pity and disgust. We look on them as though they never grew up. Although with today’s examples of true love living only in obscurity, its no wonder they haven’t become adults knowing what real love is. Because once they realize that their pet love is childish and true love is deep and powerful, they will put away the pet love in favor of the other.

1 Corinthians 13:12
For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

This is the most confusing verse in the whole chapter simply because it is deep. Right now, with imperfect love, you can only see a dim reflection in a mirror of the golden, diamond encrusted, statue that stands behind you (representing love). If only you turned around and looked with your own eyes, without the dirt on the glass, or the distortion of the mirror manipulating your vision, you could see it for what it really was and not what it had appeared to be. For now all you can see is a dirty warped brown thing with glass all round it, if you turn around you can see the gilded shine and the glistening jewels as clearly as you can see your own hand.

1 Corinthians 13:13
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

So what now? When stripped down to the bare, our souls only contain three parts that are Godly. Faith in the unseen and in the truth. Hope that God will fulfill his word and that better times are ahead. And love, which ive been rambling about for quite sometime. Faith and hope will end when time ends. They will no longer be needed as faith will be proven and promises are fulfilled. But love will endure forever, that is why it is greatest. Its never ending quality is the foundation and crux of creation. If true love is understood then God can be understood, as far as it is humanly possible anyway.

So there you have it. My take on the over used and over simplified chapter known as the love chapter of the bible. I hope maybe ive helped someone understand something more than what theyve gotten from crappy christian valentines cards. In any case, to all the ladies, Big Sloppy Kisses. Happy Valentines Day

Source BibleGateway NKJV

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  1. #1 by Your Neighbor on September 15, 2005 - 1:40 pm

    Concerning the two greatest commandments, love God with your all and love your neighbor as yourself, who do you consider your neighbor?

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