However, that passage was turned on its head this week when I read a short commentary that suggested you replace "love" with your name. Suddenly it becomes:
Elizabeth is patient, Elizabeth is kind. She is not jealous, she is not pompous, she is not inflated, she is not rude, she does not seek her own interests, she is not quick-tempered, she does not brood over injury, she does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Elizabeth bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Elizabeth never fails.
No longer is the passage just about some abstract concept of love. It is about how I am reflecting the love of God - or perhaps more acutely, how I am not reflecting it.
I start off pretty well - I'm fairly patient, I'm kind, not too jealous. And then it all starts to unravel. I wouldn't say I'm specifically pompous or inflated, but I certainly do struggle with pride. I'm still brooding over an injury, though I thought I long ago forgave the offender. And so on.
What a helpful passage for us to assess ourselves. Is this the type of love I'm reflecting in my marriage? To my family? And then to extend it, is this what my friends and neighbors and coworkers would say of me? What a stranger in the supermarket would say of me?
The next time I'm lulled into the complacency of thinking I'm a generally good person because I haven't committed any mortal sins, this passage will remind me that Christian love is much more than that. I'm probably not going to always get it right (thank God for forgiveness), and certainly not if I think I can do it on my own (thank God for grace). But what a glorious goal to strive for.
Does any part of the love passage personally speak to you? Are you able to reflect this love better to some people than others? Are there any generic passages that you've read with renewed eyes lately?