Michael Bolton sang that love is a wonderful thing. And it is.
This weekend, many people have expressed their love to another. More songs have been sung, more poems written and more hearts have been broken over love than any other subject. The Apostle Paul had a pretty good handle on love. The most powerful statement he made, however, was in 1 Corinthians 13:13. “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
It seems to me that we are more concerned in today’s church with things like faith. We think that if we have faith, then that will unlock all of the “blessings” we believe in the Lord for. But Paul lets us know that faith and hope are good, and you need those, but you need love more than you need faith.
Love is walking according to His commandments. Love is the reason God sent Jesus into the world. Love is so powerful that John said you don’t know God if you don’t love, for God is love.
But let’s be honest: Some people are hard to love. If you’ve ever been wronged, you understand what I’m saying. “How can I love someone that’s done me so wrong?”
I believe the answer is found in 1 Peter 4:8. “And above all things have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins.” The Greek word “kalypto,” according to teknia.com, means “to cover, to throw a veil of oblivion over.” I’ve come to the revelation in my life that sometimes I wish I didn’t know what people did to me and said about me behind my back. I wish that there were some things I could un-learn, un-see and un-experience, but I can’t. What I have found, however, is that love can hide it!
Love doesn’t hinder the facts; love hinders the effects. The love of God is so powerful that, if you allow it to, it can impede the pain, hamper the hurt and arrest the devastating effects of wrong doing. Love will stop your emotions from controlling your responses.
Jesus knew you and I would do Him wrong, and yet He overlooked that and went to the cross to die for us. It was as if He said, “I’m going to forget every time you stopped serving Me like you should. I’m going to ignore your foul mouth. I’m going to forget about the time you cheated on your spouse. I’m going to forget about the time you lied on your taxes. I’m going to forget about all the times that you did wrong, and I’m going to die for you!” He covered our wrongs with His blood. Now if He can do that, surely we can let go of what somebody said or did against us.
The greatest hindrance to our lives right now is not really our poor church attendance. It’s our refusal to “love our enemies, bless those who curse us, and do good to those who hate us, and pray for those who spitefully use us and persecute us.” If we could get the “love” part right, all this other stuff would get right.
I’m sorry, but Tina Turner got it wrong in “What’s Love Got to Do with It?” Love is not a “second-hand emotion.” Love is a first-hand choice.
Cowart is the pastor of Live Oak Church of God and a member of the United Ministerial Alliance.