We are all familiar with 1st Corinthians 13:13: “. . . these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” The first thing I was taught in Sunday school was God is Love. The way of God’s Love is the way of life. We really do not have an alternative, for love is patient and kind. It is not self-centered and is shared freely. Thomas Merton writes in No Man is and Island: ““The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves.”
In paraphrasing a recent Pickles cartoon, the grandson tells his grandfather that dogs die young because they already know how to love; man lives longer to learn how to love. This is an unnecessary truism. Love requires us to respect deeply. It calls on our ability to endure hurt and persevere, defeating any hurdles that are placed in our way. Egotism is one of these hurdles, our own and others. I once had a superior who was the picture-perfect icon for egotism and was hard to love. We argued often; one day I asked him why we hated each other so much. The question came out of nowhere and stopped us cold. We looked at each other, apologized for our animosities, and had a good relationship from then on. Love given a chance!
God loves us; to think otherwise is impossible. We, therefore, should also love us, all of us. God gives us the opportunity and the model in Jesus. We live a righteous life by loving all of God’s creation; and, by loving, God gives us a righteous life – a two-way street. When we love in the spirit of the Holy Spirit, we are preparing ourselves for Jesus’s return. When we love, God changes the way we look at the world, at humanity, and at all of His creation. Our path is lighted by His aura.
The Love of God and the Love we share in His name endures forever. And the greatest of these is love.
© Russell Kendall Carter