Another favorite character for Jim and myself was the "Impressive Clergyman" as he is credited in the cast. When Prince Humperdinck was trying to marry Princess Buttercup the clergyman went into a long monologue before getting to the vows...Wuv, twue wuv. Makes me laugh just to think of it.
To me, true love is fairly inconceivable. The true love that God showed to us by bringing His Son to be born here on earth, to die for our sins and then to rise again and go to heaven to intercede for us...inconceivable. It is hard for me to grasp the depth of that love.
1 Corinthians 13 is known as the 'love chapter' of the bible. It has pretty much become cliche for most people. The verses used during a wedding ceremony, in a greeting card; words that have lost their power for the most part. First of all, I believe the whole bible is a love story for us, but beyond that, this chapter tells us that not only does God love us, but He expects us to love with that same love. Now knowing myself the way I do, that seems inconceivable; but then again, nothing is impossible with God!
The Amplified Bible is worded this way, "If I [can] speak in the tongues of men and [even] of angels, but have not love (that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion such [a]as is inspired by God’s love for and in us), I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers ([b]the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and possess all knowledge, and if I have [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love (God’s love in me) I am nothing (a useless nobody). Even if I dole out all that I have [to the poor in providing] food, and if I surrender my body to be burned or [c]in order that I may glory, but have not love (God’s love in me), I gain nothing. Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end."
What a beautiful word picture of how we are to live. I know this is something that I struggle with. "I" seem to be first and foremost on my mind. "I" am at the top of my to-do-list most of the time. How do I get to the point where my love for others matches the definition that God has provided for me? It comes firstly but by doing what the Bible puts first, and that is realizing that God loves me and that His love resides in me when I am His child. That is a huge revelation that some days I really have to work on. That it is not by my own efforts that He loves me, but only by His Son's sacrifice that I am able to receive that love. And then because of His love for me, He requires that I love others in the same way. Unconditionally, totally and yes, sometimes sacrificially. Love is not always easy or convenient. But if we read the words in chapter 13 and believe them then we see a true picture of what love looks like, an outline to follow, if you will. It almost seems too much to carry, a requirement too large to live up to. But God has also said that He will never give us a burden too heavy for us, as long as we have Him to help us with it. And that applies here. In and of ourselves we can never love this way. We will get too tired, too frustrated, sometimes too angry. But when we look at the love God has given us, when we realize, really realize the depth of it, we will know that it is only reasonable that we extend that same love to others. Not on their merit, just as God does not love us on our merit, but on looking at us through the lens of the love of Christ and all He did for us. If we look at others through His eyes, it becomes easier for us to be patient. Easier to be kind. It becomes easier to fulfill the scripture that says that 'true love is this, that a man would lay down his life for his friend'. If Jesus says that we are no longer servants, but friends are we not required to feel the same about others? They are not servants to our will or to our whims, but they are our friends and we should be willing to lay down our lives, our rights, what we feel we deserve and love them with the love of God.
This is what I strive to do, and again I know there are more times than not when I fail. But with His help and with His direction I can do better today than I did yesterday. I can put aside wrongs done to me, I can believe the best in others, I can seek to embetter others rather than just myself. In other words, I can become more Christ-like and share the love that He has given me rather than hoard it for myself.
I can go beyond my frail comprehension of love and seek to have God lead me every day to live and love to the fullest with His help and guidance.
Inconceivable? As Inigo Montoya says to Vizzini, "You keep using that word (inconceivable). I do not think it means what you think it means".