What is love? How do you know when you’re in love? These are just two questions I used to ask growing up that have taken me years to learn the truth about. I still don’t know the full answer to the second question, but earlier this year, God revealed to me what love is.
I had been having a rough two months, caring for a couple at our detox house and rejuvenating after they’d departed. They took everything out of me and even, I felt, had shattered a piece of my soul. I was broken and exhausted when they left and didn’t know how to snap out of it. I could feel that God was still around, but only in the distance like I was on one side of the room and He was on the other, with an invisible wall standing between us. It wasn’t until I watched A Walk to Remember one night that I felt the wall crumble.
That might sound a little odd to some of you, especially if you think that movies are just for entertainment, but A Walk to Remember is an inspiring, moving film. If you haven’t seen it, here’s a mini-synopsis: Landon is a rebellious high schooler who doesn’t care about authority or responsibility. After getting into trouble and taking all the blame, he is forced to do community service and join the school play. Having trouble with his lines, Landon seeks the help of the local preacher’s daughter, Jaime, who he and his friends ridicule daily. Accepting Jaime’s term of not falling in love with her, Landon and Jaime begin practicing lines together. However, Landon soon learns that there’s more to Jaime than her terrible sweaters…
I have seen A Walk to Remember countless times, but this time was different. As Landon was reading 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 to Jaime, I was overcome with emotion and felt God tell me, “These verses aren’t just about romantic love; they’re about ALL love!” WOW! Have you ever heard such a thing? We are called to love one another, as it says in John 13:34-35, but what should that love look like? I believe 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 gives us the answer.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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.”
Every believer has read these verses; most even know it by heart. However, have you ever wondered if there was more to the meaning than what you’ve been taught?
Growing up, I’d always been told that this was a passage that would help me know what to look for in a partner and whether I would marry the right person. Now, I feel like this passage has far more meaning than I had previously thought!
Upon getting this revelation and the events in the last 30 minutes of the film, I began to sob. I’d been feeling so broken and disconnected from myself that as soon as God had spoken these words to me, I felt myself come back to life. Everything that had happened in the last two months seemed to peel away, and the weight of what the people had left behind fell off my shoulders.
At that moment, I felt myself get a download of all the things God had been teaching me during those torturous two months and how I could do better next time. We’re not going to get along with everyone we encounter, and we don’t always get a choice of who we have to be around, but we do have a say in how we treat others. No matter how horrible others are towards you, you should never stoop to their level. God has called us to love our enemies and show kindness towards them.
We don’t know what others are genuinely going through, and just because they don’t treat us with respect doesn’t mean we should give them the power to tear us down! We’re not concrete walls, we’re humans, and things will hurt us, but learning to brush off their words is a lesson, I believe, everyone needs to learn.
Today, I’m still working on mastering this lesson. It doesn’t cost anything to be kind to those who you think might not deserve it. Everyone needs kindness and love in their lives, whether they think so or not. We have a choice; to continue being people like Landon, pre-Jaime, full of bitterness and rebellion, or be the person who is loving and forgiving. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be loving than hateful.
The Bible teaches us many things, but one of the best lessons is how we should treat others; 1 Corinthians 13 is just one example. How do you view love? Have you ever thought about 1 Corinthians 13 is about more than a romantic love letter? Let’s meditate on these verses this week and see how God uses this revelation to change how we treat those we encounter each day!