Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, (love) is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
I remember hearing a long time ago that if you were dating a person and you wanted to really understand if they were the “right person,” you should read this passage from 1 Corinthians and insert their name. I thought that was excellent thinking, but I was already married so I didn’t give it much thought. I have no idea what made it pop into my head the other day, but it just sat there. Then I woke up to the news of more shootings and more folks sharing their opinions about gun control, evil people, and the woes of the world.
As the bad news bubbled in my heart I came across this quote by St. Teresa of Calcutta.
Spread love everywhere you go: first of all in your own house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor… Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting.
I’m not sure we understand how important it is to love one another. It was the basic command of Jesus, yet we seem to get it so very twisted up.
As all of this tumbled around in my heart and my head, I remembered that I have absolutely no control over anyone else’s actions but my own, and it made me start to think about how I loved others. The teacher in me thought about a scoring rubric or grading scale for judging my “love ability.” Somewhere in the middle of a really long bike ride on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, this reading had a purpose, and I realized the rubric already existed. I pulled out the New Testament, found 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, and began to read it slowly, inserting my own name. It sounded like this: “Sheri is patient, Sheri is kind. Sheri is not jealous, Sheri is not pompous …” I’ll be honest: There were parts I really couldn’t say out loud because they weren’t consistently true. I wanted to say “Sheri is not quick-tempered … most of the time” or “Sheri endures almost all things.” It was not an easy read! It was glaringly obvious where I fall short.
I can’t change the world, but I can change me. There will always be awful stuff going on in the world, there always has been, and one powerless teacher from Michigan isn’t going to end world violence — but God isn’t asking me to. He’s asking me to love others as He loves me. This reading from St. Paul’s letter is a great place to start. The cool thing about it is, if I try harder to get it right, not only will I feel better, but the Father will be pleased — and who doesn’t want a new way to please the Father? It might sound so simple but I really believe the world will get better if we all learn to love a little harder.
Blessings on your day!
A Seed To Plant: Spend some quiet minutes reading this passage and inserting your name and see where the Holy Spirit leads your heart.
Copyright 2019 Sheri Wohlfert