By Rev. Lynette Hagin
Many people refer to First Corinthians chapter 13 as “the love chapter.” Too often, we want to skip over reading that part of the Bible. I will readily admit that there have been times in my life when I wanted to ignore that chapter.
But during those times, the Lord continued to lead me to read it. First Corinthians 13:4–7 in the Amplified says, “Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].”
When my husband and I perform a marriage ceremony, I always read this portion of Scripture to the bride and groom. If we would all practice this passage on a daily basis, we would live peaceful and productive lives. However, our flesh often gets in the way. Instead of ignoring injustices that are done to us, we want to get even. Instead of walking in love, we want to repay evil for evil.
One of the things I witnessed in my father-in-law’s life was that he truly lived the love walk. He never considered getting even. At times, my husband and I got exasperated when we heard others criticize and say hurtful things about our family. Sometimes we expressed our feelings to my father-in-law. He would say to us, “Don’t ever stoop to their level; always walk the high road.” I still hear those words ringing in my ears when I’m tempted to walk the low road and return evil for evil.
The test of walking in love is not something you pass one time and never have to experience again. No, your love walk will be tested continually. I’ve often said to the Lord, “I must really need a lesson on love, because I seem to be tested on a daily basis!”
I’m reminded of the story about a woman who was complaining to her husband that he never told her he loved her. The husband replied, “I told you I loved you when I asked you to marry me, and if I ever change my mind, I’ll let you know.” We should not be like that husband. Instead, we should say the words “I love you” freely.
My husband and I tell each other that we love one another many times a day. And I often tell my children and grandchildren that I love them. I believe those are important words to say. We all need to be reassured of the love others have for us, and we need to reassure others of our love for them.
Some of you may not have heard those words very often in your childhood, and some of you may find it awkward to say, “I love you.” But I encourage you that if you’ll start saying, “I love you,” those words will become easier to say and more natural to you each time you repeat them.
I encourage you to not take your friends and family for granted, but to express your love and appreciation for them on a continual basis. Don’t live with regret after the death of a loved one, wishing you had expressed words of love to them more often. Decide today that you will walk in love and that you will express words of love to your family and friends.
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