Love is patient, love is kind..... you're now picturing the last wedding you attended right?
Either the blimpy bridesmaid dresses, or the crazy best man speech. Some vision of a wedding likely just popped into your head. I think of the wedding of a good family friend where I read this passage over 10 years ago. I was wearing a suit that I loved, it was the color of butter. I wonder what happened to that suit?
My church is doing a series on love. This passage from ICorinthians, of course is the foundation....stay tuned it has a twist. It's easy to say these words when you're all dressed up and on your best behavior. Of course love is patient, the bride and groom are goo goo eyes with visions of sugar plums and future babies that look like a Gerber ad. They're so cute when they're new. Brides and babies.
It's the next 40 years that living this passage gets a little dicier. Who hasn't looked across the table at your handsome groom or blushing bride with kids screaming in the background thinking, "If they say one more word, I jump out that window." Once the bridal gown is stored away and the bouquet has been tossed, then life happens. It comes at you hard some days.
Remember the twist I mentioned? It's kinda like the fortune cookie twist. Read your fortune and then add, .... in bed. I know it's a stretch, but I think it proves the point, hang with me.
Read I Corinthians and then add ..... even when they don't deserve your love and likely won't return it.
Now let's see how you're doing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, 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.
......... even when they don't deserve it, or won't return it.
There should be a requirement that each marriage that uses this passage comes in once per year to do a check on how it's going.
patient - check
kind - check
does not envy - needs improvement
does not boast - major fail
You get the picture.
It's all fun and games when you spend the morning getting your hair and nails done and you're in your Vera Wang knock off looking all fabulous. How are you doing in the day to day at love when you realize that your soul mate has some pretty human sins and flaws. Yea, that's the real test.
Let's make sure we look in the mirror and take the I Corinthians test on ourselves before we get out our red marker for the soul mate and start to be the judge and jury. Chances are, you're not the valedictorian in this class. Some days I'm just trying not to flunk out.
I've written before about a really wise friend who said something profound when I was frustrated with my handsome groom. He said, "Can you see him through God's eyes instead of your own?" Yea, that was the knock between the eyes I needed. Not the one I necessarily wanted, but yes, needed.
I think that God meant I Corinthians for more than just the wedding day. He gives it to us and we don't deserve it. Surely we can look across the breakfast table and try to see that same kind of love in our bride or groom, even when they don't deserve it and sometimes won't return it.
It's easy to point out the problems. It's a different story to love when it's tough to love. To love when we're exhausted and frustrated and there are socks all over the floor and kids screaming because they want their lunch. Try some love is patient, love is kind on that day and put your red marker away.