Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I Corinthians 13: (Insert Name Here)...

I used to think I was a pretty nice person... until the other day.  I was reading I Corinthians 13, the famous chapter on love.  Most people start out in verse 4 with "Love is patient, love is kind..."

I was reading it in Afrikaans and translating it directly, with the hope of getting a fresh perspective based on the different vocabulary words. I got more than I bargained for.  Somewhere in the middle of reading I got this crazy idea to put my name in the text every time it said "love" or "it"-
Anna is patient.  Anna is kind.  She does not envy, does not boast, is not proud.  Anna keeps no record of wrongs.  She covers a multitude of sins.  Anna bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
I couldn't finish the chapter.  I put the Bible down and wept. I miss the mark so many times. I have only to look at my family and think of how often I've pointed out their mistakes, become frustrated, or generally done the opposite of what Love would do.  And that's just my family!

For three days now I keep trying to get through this passage, inserting my name where it says "love," and each time I end up having to put the book down to go fetch a tissue. I don't write this because I'm having a pity party or feeling depressed about my shortcomings; on the contrary! I'm writing about it because I feel a genuine remorse.  There is a breaking of my heart, a softening, a desire to grow and become more like Love - seeking to honour others more and seeking my own agenda less.  Maybe I'll never get through the passage without crying; that's not necessarily a bad thing.  As long as I'm living there is always room to grow, become, and enlarge my capacity to love.


Jennifer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennifer said...

Reposting comment, wanted to edit…I tend to ramble…

Hi Anna,

What a standard laid out in I Corinthians 13! 1 John 4 also came to mind. It's neat to see how God is drawing your heart here. I am thankful the Spirit causes our hearts to take notice and desire such things.
I am also thankful that He teaches our hearts, trains and equips too, so we can walk in His ways.

Perhaps you've done this already, putting God's name in there instead of yours? Seeing the stark contrast between my actions and the Father's perfect love becomes a vivid reminder of my utter dependence on Him; my need of Him, His grace, His might and His power to accomplish anything. Interesting how we can only read our name there in light of God’s grace. He does it for us. It all goes back to Christ alone, doesn’t it?!

I’ll stop here since this is a comment not a conversation! I’ll close with a verse I read today: May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ. ~ 2 Thessalonians 3:1 ~


Anna said...

Thank you, Jennifer. I appreciate your comments. Yes, it's only by grace that we can put our names there at all, and only through Christ that we can love at all.

Thanks for your encouragement!