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Have Enough Faith to Hope in Love

Way back in the first century there lived a Hebrew scholar simply known as Paul. This man was dramatically converted to Christianity and went on to write over half of the New Testament. Among his most famous passages is a section in a letter to the Corinthian church. This “love” chapter is quoted at thousands of weddings even now, two millennia later.

In its essence it is a checklist-type definition of love, true love. The problem is that the list, though short, is too exhaustive. It is impossible to keep it all at all times. Sure, one can be patient and kind for a while, but while demonstrating these characteristics envy or pride may sneak up on the unsuspecting onlooker. This faulty human nature is why so many become disillusioned with love. The “keeps no record of wrongs” bit can be tough as we become unforgiving in our search for this elusive true love. The “always perseveres” clause seems to be far too idealistic to become a tangible reality. Or is it?

While the flawless keeping of this list may be an unattainable goal, it is in the continual striving to display these traits where the magic occurs. When someone fails to meet the standard, forgiveness and grace must come into the equation.

If you have been hurt in the passed because of an investment of love, you might be tempted to tell this ancient Paul guy that his definition is too good to be true. No one can meet the standard. It is a useless attempt to try to love again.

You would be partly right, but mostly wrong. Nobody is perfect, but that’s OK. Without risk, there can be no reward. Many have lived by these words as best they can and have sustained a mutually growing love through service and meeting each others needs- placing the other over themselves. It does work. The alternative, to give up, does no one any good.

Later on, in the same chapter, Paul would go on to say, “Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”1 Maybe we should give the time-tested wisdom of Paul the benefit of the doubt. We should not give up on love. Maybe we should have enough faith to hope in love.

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