1 Corinthians 13
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The Gift of Love
13 If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast,[a] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Okay, so I have quoted the first part of 1 Corinthians 13, but you may know what comes next, the love is patient, love is kind verse. I would recommend reading the whole chapter (if not the whole book or the whole New Testament). It is so empowering and rich!
I also find this unsettling. Why is it unsettling? Well, it seems to imply that you can have faith without love, that you can prophesy, give to the the needy, and speak in tongues without love. What?
Isn’t faith a gift from God? Isn’t love also a gift from God? Aren’t all those things gifts from God? Why would God bestow you one without giving you the whole package? It seems almost cruel to give “Christian virtues” while withholding love. Why would God withhold love? Why do we withhold love?
I constantly struggle with loving people that I don’t know or have anything in common with. I find very it hard to love people that think that they’re better than me. Sometimes I find it hard to love anyone, even the people closest to me, even God. Sometimes I want to hurt them rather than help them, judge them rather than have compassion on them, ignore them rather than value them. I ask God for help, it’s not like I don’t. I look at faces and I tell myself, “Hey, you should love them.” But the fact that I am telling myself to love must mean that I do not truly love. Love is natural, it flows from within like a river. It should not be a game or a ritual, it should be an unstoppable force of nature. Why doesn’t it feel that way at all?
Is it really so simple that one must simply open up their heart to divine love, and then simply let that love gush forth freely? Yet how is this accomplished? Where are the floodgates and how do they open? How can you ensure that they won’t simply close back up once they have opened? Where are the keys to the kingdom of heaven? Someone tell me!
Does it just take a lot of time? But I don’t have time, I am on a tight schedule, the natural life is so short, Jesus will be coming down on clouds at any minute. But now it’s been a while. Somebody tell me, where is the love? I am parched and weary. Apparently I have moved mountains for nothing.
I would like to provide a neat answer to this, I really would. I am sure that if one perseveres in humbling themself, they will eventually find it. But what can be done in the mean time? Maybe the first thing to do is calm down. Maybe peace can be found even in imperfection and struggle. No matter where we are, God is. Maybe when anxiety fades, it will be easier for love to find its way in. It is hard to love when your heart is under stress from beating so fast. There is no sin that can’t be forgiven. There is nothing God won’t do to help you. Breathe if you can (it’s actually hard, I know because i suffer from anxiety/depression/mental issues).
Love has already been discovered. The collective human population searches and searches through various mediums: art, sex, philantropy, culture, etc. But it is already found, it is already here, right under our noses, and at the same time, infinitely out of our reach.