1 Corinthians 13:8 says “Love Never Fails.”
And when you hear a statement like that – even from the Bible – it can feel kind of cliche – ish. You know?
Unicorns. Rainbows. Cartoon hearts floating into the sky. That kind of stuff.
But because it’s from the Bible I take it a lot more seriously than that. I have to look beyond the cliche feeling of it and realize something important.
Behind EVERY cliche is a nugget of truth. It’s my job to find it.
So when Paul says “Love never fails” I want to know first of all what he means by the “never fails” part and secondly, how does it play out in real life.
There are many broken marriages that appear to prove that love does indeed fail.
I don’t have an easy answer to that one. That doesn’t mean that there ISN’T an answer – just that it’s not an easy one.
In such a case many questions have to be asked. The first two to come to MY mind are..
- Was there really “true love” in the first place? You know, the kind portrayed in the Bible as self-sacrificing, other-serving?
- Did love really fail? I mean in the final outcome? Can we even KNOW such a thing from our limited human perspective?
God is up to more than cartoon hearts floating into the sky when it comes to love. He’s doing something POWERFUL with it.
And since it’s true that “God IS Love” (1 John 4:8) we have to assume that there is DIVINE PURPOSE behind every expression of love, no matter how imperfect that expression of it may be.
So when we say “Love never fails” we are really saying “God never fails” in what HE is doing with the expression of love in question.
Like bricks – God is using each expression of love to build something in the life of the one receiving it.
We don’t always get to know what that is OR what it will look like in the final result.
It’s a result that may come years into the future. Long after people connected to the situation right now are gone. Long after the expression of love in question is forgotten by most people.
But God used it to build His project – whatever it is.
So it’s another of the many situations where WE humans get to express FAITH in what God says… to TRUST that what He is doing deserves our belief.
So in your marriage – your relationships – hold firmly to the truth that love never fails.
It’s God’s all-knowing promise to us, His little-knowing creation.
The statement is meant to bring us comfort, assurance, hope that all the effort we put into loving well is not wasted effort.
Even though it’s painful.
And that brings me to the second half of the title to this post.
Loving well is a bloody thing.
It won’t be easy and it won’t be clean.
You’ll have to commit murder – of yourself – over and over again.
You’ll have to slaughter your sinful habits.
You’ll have to slay your desire to “get” from the relationship in order to be able to give rightly.
That’s what love is. It’s what love is about. Just look at the cross for proof of how far love is willing to go to help another person.
So when you encounter inequity or unfairness in your marriage (whether they really are that or you are just calling them that) – remember that love gives.
Don’t take this lightly. God doesn’t.
He was willing to give His very best and see Him mistreated and maligned for the sake of love.
You are called to do the same. Especially in your closest relationships.
And the only way you CAN do it is because you have ABSOLUTE CONFIDENCE that love never fails.
So it’s not an issue of whether or not it’s true that love never fails.
It’s whether or not you will choose to believe God, Who says it’s true – and take the action required to BE HIS INSTRUMENT of love, no matter the cost.