The Apostle Paul’s letters to the Christians in the city of Corinth are both doctrinal and practical.
In one of these, we find the greatest discourse on love as located in 1 Corinthians, chapter 13. God’s love transforms us into becoming a person with more of the qualities of Jesus.
If there’s one major theme in the Love chapter, it is that God’s love totally transforms a person.
• Ambition into aspiration;
• Greed into gratitude;
• Selfishness into service;
• Getting into giving;
• Demands into dedication.
True love is more than emotion, it is motional. It means it moves. It longs to do something for the person loved. It keeps on giving, even at great cost.
A family where there is no love for one another is not a normal family. If a sibling does not like another sibling, it is unnatural.
In the very first book of the Bible, Genesis, the rivalry between Cain and Abel is a glaring example of it.
Cain had the same opportunity to please their father as his brother Abel, but he hated his sibling’s guts. That is why he schemed to commit the first recorded homicide in the world.
Christ is God’s love-gift to us
sinners. When we have Jesus reigning and ruling our hearts, we can love His people as well.
We are not saved from sin through loving God’s people. God’s people love others because they are saved.
Notwithstanding the current disenchantment with the sophisticated and the careerists with marriage, man’s underlying need to love and be loved cannot be denied.
The flames lit in young hearts have been the subject of poetry, art, literature, movies and continue to dominate the media.
Has materialism rendered love and marriage outdated?
One wonders whether Shakespeare, Byron, or Keats would have created their immortal imageries of love had they been working on computers.
Have we been in love? Or, even loved and lost? We would not then exchange such experiences for all the world.
Ralph Waldo Emerson has portrayed it beautifully in his essay Love:
“Be our experience in particulars what it may, no man ever forgot the visitations of that power to his heart and brain, which created all things anew; which was the dawn in him of music, poetry and art, which made the face of nature radiant with purple light…when a single tone of one voice could make the heart bounce, and the most trivial circumstances associated with one form is put in the amber of memory; when he became all eye when one was present, and all memory when one was gone; when youth became a watcher of windows, studious of a glove, a veil, a ribbon…”
Having once delighted in endearments and in avowals of love, it is rather tragic if any such relationship turns into an uneasy coexistence with the passage of time or through a conspiracy of circumstances.
For love to be enduring in any relationship, it has to be of certain quality. As alluded to earlier, St. Paul in the book of Corinthians puts it thus:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, it is not rude, 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.”
When there is strain in relationships, it could be caused by the absence of one of the above ingredients.
Today, there are attempts to deprive marriages of its sanctity by taking it to be a contract, a convenient arrangement, or
a necessary evil. The result is broken hearts, bruised lives and insufferable bondage.
Two persons when they come to recognize that they have chosen each other out of all the species to be of each other’s comfort and encouragement, they are bound to do their best to keep the ties strong.
When a person has learned to love, he or she will be humble, too. Humility has surrendered all her rights to be consulted, honoured, respected, obeyed, and, therefore, it takes all that is contrary kindly.
Peace is a natural consequence of such an attitude. To be young and to be in love is heavenly. Equally beautiful is the love of two who have weathered the storms of life together over the years and survived wonderfully the ravages of time.
It is amazing that people have married in 2020 and are still continuing to do so this year, COVID-19 or not.
May their allegiance and ties be blessed with long-lasting and joyful commitments.
Narayan Mitra is a volunteer chaplain at Thompson Rivers University. KTW welcomes submissions to its Faith page. Columns should be between 600 and 800 words in length and can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a very short bio and a photo.