– Francis Chan
Love Is the Greatest
When the Apostle Paul was writing what we call chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians, he wrote, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1). In the ancient pagan worship services, they clanged symbols and gongs to get the attention of a god or gods. Paul is saying that we can speak like an angel from God, but if we don’t do it in love, it’s just a lot of noise and good for nothing, nothing more than “air pollution.” Love without sincerity is hypocrisy.
Love Covers Sins
The Apostle Peter wrote in a way that stresses the importance of something, as he starts off by writing, “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). By saying “above all,” Peter is saying that the point is to keep on loving earnestly or sincerely since, or because, “love covers a multitude of sins.” Love overlooks the faults and sins of others, and only when they refuse to repent do you speak to them in loving concern over it. But love accepts people for the way they are since God accepted us in Christ. Solomon put it well by writing “love covers all offenses” (Proverbs 10:12b).
Love Is a Verb
If you think love is sending a Valentine’s Day card or flowers or saying I love you, yes, you are right, at least partially. Love is more than a feeling. Love is a verb, an action verb that shows up in tangible ways. Love might prompt doing the dishes, cleaning out the litter box, or washing your spouse’s car. If you want to see the ultimate expression of love, the agape or godly love, which is a self-sacrificial, life-giving love, then look at the cross. I’m glad Jesus didn’t depend on feelings as to whether or not He’d go to the cross. He came to die for wicked sinners and enemies of God (Romans 5:8-10). So if “the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45), we should give our lives as a ransom in service to God.
Whatever we do, nothing else maters if we do not love. We are made for relationship, first with God and then with our fellow man and woman. But above all, love is the greatest of things that matter to God and to others, love overlooks the shortcomings of those we know, and love is what you do, not so much what you feel or say. Action drowns out all words.