One of my top five favorite biblical passages is 1 Corinthians 13. I'm sure I'm not alone in saying that because it's a passage that many people appreciate and revere. I believe it's the most frequently read passage at weddings, hands down. It's often called "the love chapter."
Do you ever take time to explore the meaning of Paul's statements in 1 Corinthians 13? "Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth." Do you know what that means? It means that love is not trying to catch the other person doing something wrong. In fact, Paul writes, "Love keeps no record of wrongs." That means that love doesn't keep score of the past. "Love always protects." Protects from what? Love always protects from suspicion. Love always protects from a lack of trust. Love is always protective of the relationship.
Then Paul says this: "Love always hopes." I take that to mean that love trends positive. I'm not going to allow myself to go negative. Then he says, "And love always perseveres." I'm not going to allow the relationship to fall into the trap that I have set through my expectations. Love is determined to trust.
Here's the question I'm left with after years of living with and reading 1 Corinthians 13. Based on your personality, based on your experience, based on what you know about yourself, do you believe the best, or do you assume the worst? Which way do you go? Do you choose to believe the best about your spouse or life partner? Or do you stay angry all the time because you always assume the worst?
Imagine sitting down someday with your future kids or your current kids who are older and about to get married, and you're going to give them advice about a successful relationship. You could say, "Basically, honey, lay a trap, wait, and he will step into it eventually. And then you can say, 'Aha! I knew this was going to happen!'" Or, you could tell them, "Always choose to trust in your future relationship, and believe the best."
I've come to believe that our hearts, and ultimately our behavior, are always drawn to trust. When you create an atmosphere of high trust, you create an environment of high acceptance. And all of our hearts are drawn to acceptance. That's the path that 1 Corinthians 13 sets forth, because love always hopes. I'm not keeping score. I am going to choose to believe the best.
In the name of the One who can do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
Bruce Jones, Pastor and Co-Creator,
Imagine Church of the Carolinas