“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
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.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
— I Corinthians 13
Sometimes we have to go back to the beginning. We all go through trials and tribulations. We get our feelings hurt and we hold grudges. We behave badly and we commit sins. I Corinthians 13 is one of the most beautiful passages in the Bible because in its simplicity it speaks of love and how basic and wonderful it is.
Recently God gave me a word of prophecy, and I thought to myself, “I must still be doing okay with God if he is still talking to me.” Then I read this passage. God’s little way of telling me, no I’m really not doing okay. I haven’t had the love. I haven’t been patient. I haven’t been kind. I’ve been jealous. I’ve boasted like an ego driven fool. I have been rude, angry, and self-centered. As far as keeping no record of wrongs, believe me, I’ve been making a list and checking it twice.
In the King James Version I Corinthians 13:6 says “Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.” The NIV says, “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” It was this verse that crossed my path and made me stop and say, “wait a minute, this is something important.” Iniquity is wickedness and evil. It is unjust and it is harmful. Iniquity is the enemy screaming in your ear that you are not worthy of God’s love. Iniquity is the enemy reminding you over and over again of the things your friends and loved ones have done in the past to hurt your feelings. Iniquity is holding a grudge.
Truth is God, and the truth is love does not do any of those things. Sometimes we can’t do all of the things it says here, but as we strive to become more like Jesus we should not have any problems with our love protecting, hoping, persevering and never failing. The reason we shouldn’t have any problems is because it is God’s love doing the work and not ours.
God really hit me in the face with this issue. Every day I pray for the Lord to create in me a clean heart, but he can’t do that if I am not willing to let go of the iniquities. I have to ask God to forgive me. It is a sin to hold onto those things. In the same vein I have to ask Tony, Jo Ann, Susan, and Tim to forgive me. Those are just the ones I am aware of, I am sure there are others. But once again I pray, ” Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me.”