The Power of a True Love
1 Corithians 13:1-13
Newspaper columnist and minister George Crane tells of a wife who came into his office full of hatred toward her husband. “I do not only want to get rid of him, I want to get even. Before I divorce him, I want to hurt him as much as he has me.”
Dr. Crane suggested an ingenious plan “Go home and act as if you really love your husband. Tell him how much he means to you.
Praise him for every decent trait. Go out of your way to be as kind, considerate, and generous as possible. Spare no efforts to please him, to enjoy him. Make him believe you love him. After you’ve convinced him of your undying love and that you cannot live without him, then drop the bomb. Tell him that you’re getting a divorce. That will really hurt him.” With revenge in her eyes, she smiled and exclaimed, “Beautiful, beautiful. Will he ever be surprised!” And she did it with enthusiasm. Acting “as if.” For two months she showed love, kindness, listening, giving, reinforcing, sharing. When she didn’t return, Crane called. “Are you ready now to go through with the divorce?”
“Divorce?” she exclaimed. “Never! I discovered I really do love him.” Her actions had changed her feelings. Motion resulted in emotion. The ability to love is established not so much by fervent promise as often repeated deeds. -J. Allan Petersen
In the world of the 20th century, loves seems to be so far: Crime rates is increasing, there are more violence on the streets. People are more lovers of themselves.
In times of pressures, instead of driving the families closer to each other seems to tear families apart. When there is problem in the church and seeking for a solution, the church is quarelling and breaking away. The power of love seems to be absent even in the people of God.
Paul is writing this letter to a group of immature Christians in the ancient city of Corith. The Corinthians were people who had cut loose from their own heritage. Corinth was over thrown by the Romans in 149 B.C. Then nearly a hundred years later the descendants of those who had been carried away in chains came back and rebuilt the city.
Paul came to Corinth and preach, many were converted but still had the culture of their environment in their hearts. But because he loved them he diligently wrote at leat 2 letters to them, giving them instructions as to how Christians live and love in a secular world.
I. THE VALUE OF LOVE (1 Cor. 13:1-3)
Remember, the Corithians were Greeks, and they prided themselves on their great orators. Demosthenes, Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle were all Greeks. And Paul is saying though I had their tongues, though I had the power to sway vast crowds with my oratory, if I did not love, I am nothing.
Yet, contends Paul, the greatest oratory in the world is nothing apart from love. And the reverse of that truth is that the humblest person whose words are backed with love is greater than those names are emblazoned in the headlines.
2And 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, and have not charity, I am nothing.
The word Paul used means “worthless, meaningless, of no value”. Think of it like this. If you have a very tiny amount of something, you can measure it, but when Paul said, “you are nothing” that means your’re like a paralytic person.
Love says psychiatrist A.A. Brill, “is necessary to survival. It is quite as essential for a person to have love,” says a doctor, “as to have pure air and food to sustain him.”
II. THE TEST OF LOVE (1 Cor. 13:4-7)
When cartoonist Charles Schulz dined in the home of a friend, the host remarked that he needed to setoff his dinner jacket. He disappeared and returned a few minutes with a heavy chain from which a medallion hung, and accross the face of the medallion were the letters “love”. Schultz fingered it for a few minutes and then handed it back. With a wry “Charley Brown” smile on his face, he said, “It’s just too hard for me. Do you have one that says, LIKE? In his honesty, Schultz pointed out an important truth. No matter how necessary it is, love is not easy. Only God can really trurn our “likes” to “loves” by the help of Grace and Faith.
Should I really defend the premise that many today really don’t know what love is?
What are the tests of love?
First, says Paul: Love suffers long.
A young man said to his father at breakfast one morning, “Dad, I’m going to get married.” “How do you know you’re ready to get married?” asked the father. “Are you in love?” “I sure am,” said the son. “How do you know you’re in love?” asked the father. “Last night as I was kissing my girlfriend good-night, her dog bit me and I didn’t feel the pain until I got home.”
Those obviously are not expressions of true love.
“We absolutely can’t wait to get married, “says a young couple in their late teens. You can’t wait? If you can’t, I would seriously question that what attracts you to each other is real love. Many couples enter into marriages because of physical body, attractive appearances, pleasant personalities, stableness, etc. All that factors lead to hasty marriages.
Second, Love is patience.
The patience of love which helps a person before marriage also helps him after marriage.
Third, Love is kind.
In an article that appeared in the Los Angeles Times that told of the impact of love on neglected children who are classified as retarded. The press told, “children are ignored and neglected, not kissed or hugged, or spoken to, and given a little stimulation, their intelligence retrogresses.”
The prominent psychiatrist Karl Menninger was featured in an article carried by the “Chicago Daily News” entitled, “Love working miracles for the mentally Ill in Kansas.” Dr. Menninger contended that love is one of the most effective cures in healing mental illness. When reporters asked Menninger how it was that 80% of his patients recovered, he replied, the secret is not in electroshock, surgery, group-theraphy, drugs, etc. This play a part, but the real secret is contained in a single word: LOVE!
Love envies not.
The New American Standard Bible puts it, Love is not jealous. Solomon was a man who new something of jealousy. Song of Sol. 8:6 “Jealousy is as cruel as the grave.” Jealousy can destroy the warmth of a home. Jealousy is an enemy of real love.
Real love knows nothing of selfishness.
It constantly puts the welfare of another above the welfare of yourself. (Phil. 2:4)
Love bears all things.
“LL Huffman received letter from a foreign friend and the letter was filled with expressions that were quaint because the friend’s knowledge of English grammar was quite poor; however, Huffman’s heart was deeply touched as he read the post script: “The mistakes you will cover with the coat of love.”
III. THE PERMANENCY OF LOVE ( 1 Cor. 13:8-13)
In verse 8, Paul makes a rather categorical statement when he says, “Love never fails.” Paul is saying that on the stage of life, love is bound to win. It is certain to succeed. And those who would practice it will never be defeated no matter how poorly they appear to be playing their part on the stage of life.
There will come a day in your life when everything that you possess will fall away, but love will live on and on.
One of my favorite posters in our home define love as:
“Love is like a bridge that connects our hearts when we’re apart, The rainbow that colors our world when we’re together, And the bond that keeps us learning and growing together in the LORD!”