By Peola Hicks
"Love Is Patient, Love Is Kind"
Everyone knows what love is. It’s something like affection that we feel for others, right? Yet we say things like, “I love ice cream,” or “I love pizza,” etc. How is it that we can feel so emotional about something that will be consumed in a matter of minutes?
When we love one another it has to be more than just a feeling at any given moment. Feelings cannot be relied upon; they are often based on circumstances or conditions. People are too valuable to be subject to our emtional instability.
God, in His wisdom, knew that we needed to have a definitive definition of love to guide our human interactions and relationships. His love for us is unconditional and beyond my ability to fully understand. His love is constant and demonstrative. It does not change when I don't live up to all that He has designed for me. In fact, the scriptures teach us that God's love is everlasting and has been expressed to the world through Jesus Christ. God's love is unconditional, and for that I am thankful.
Like the song says, “I want to know what love is,” and I want to know when I fall short of the standard. What may seem like a simple answer is now defined and cannot be manipulated or contrived. It is defined by the one who is Love. A favorite reading at weddings—including my own wedding, although there have been times when I forget that I ever heard the scripture —is 1 Corinthians chapter 13: “Love is patient, love is kind, love thinks no evil, love keeps no record of wrong, love will last throughout eternity, it will never fail.”
I don't have to wonder any longer what love is, but now I have to pray that I don't allow my feelings to dictate how I show love. Love is an active word, and is not just for marriage. It is for all of my relationships. There are different kinds of love, but the love expressed in 1 Corinthians can be demonstrated through my behavior toward others. It can be applied to relationships with family, colleagues, friends and within the church.
I have to admit that a constant plea in my prayers is that I show God's love on a consistent basis. I know that I am not always on the mark, but at least I have no excuse for bad behavior. My prayer point is that we take some time to meditate on 1 Corinthians 13 and not think of it just as a wedding text; and second, that we measure our love by the way we act toward others over and above the way we feel. This is not to deny that we can have feelings of love for others, but it is to say that when we don't feel anything, we still know how to behave.
“Love is patient, love is kind” is easy to remember and can help to guide us when we are not feeling like we are able to love. We can show patience rather than irritability and kindness rather than rudeness. To help each of us come closer to doing what we know and not turning our backs on relationships that matter, we need to pray consistently.
Join us for a day dedicated to praying for your relationships. “Love is Patient, Love is Kind” Day of Prayer is happening on August 23, 2012, on the OurPrayer Events page. Submit your prayer requests to strengthen your relationships. We want to pray for you.
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Rev. Dr. Peola C. Hicks manages all prayer, volunteer and partner programs for OurPrayer. OurPrayer is a Christ centered ministry that receives and prays for over 750,000 requests on an annual basis through the web, phone and Facebook. Peola is an ordained minister and has a profile on Facebook as Peola’s Prayer Points.