“I may speak in the tongues of men, even angels; but if I lack love, I have become merely blaring brass or a cymbal clanging. I may have the gift of prophecy, I may fathom all mysteries, know all things, have all faith – enough to move mountains; but if I lack love, I am nothing. I may give away everything that I own, I may even hand over my body to be burned; but if I lack love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind, not jealous, not boastful, not proud, rude or selfish, not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not gloat over other people’s sins but takes its delight in the truth, Love always bears up, always trusts, always hopes, always endures. Love never ends; but prophecies will pass, tongues will cease, knowledge will pass. For our knowledge is partial, and our prophecy partial; but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child, argued like a child; now that I have become a man, I have finished with childish ways. For now, we see obscurely in a mirror, but then it will be face to face. Now I know partly; then I will know fully, just as God has fully known me. But for now, three things last trust, hope, love; and the greatest of these is love.” (I Corinthians 13:1-13)
The above passage is likely one of the most well-known scriptures in the Bible. It is often referred to as “the love chapter” and quoted in more weddings than not. The words were penned by the Apostle Paul, formerly known as Saul, to the believers in Corinth, or so we are told. The words very well could be prophetic, meaning, the Spirit of Divine Love was speaking through Paul.
Paul said our knowledge, in other words, our wisdom is partial and yet all of the knowledge we need is within because we are extensions of the Spirit of God, extensions of Divine Love. Our knowledge is partial because we limit our access to the wisdom available to us. Through daily journey with God, little by little, we learn to access and trust the wisdom within. Paul also said when he was a child he spoke, thought, and argued like a child; now that he had become a man he put aside childish ways. What does that mean? Simply put, Paul chose to act from a spirit of love, from Divine Love, and not argue foolishly, speak foolishly. Paul was by no means perfect, nor are any of us, yet we are presented with the choice to respond from the spirit of love or from our childish ways every minute of every day. Herein are the cause and the answer to religious and spiritual debate. None sees clearly, we view the whole of our existence and all we are to learn and be through an obscured looking glass. How can one say their beliefs and doctrines are absolute and another’s are wrong? We cannot.
Life is like a giant puzzle; all the pieces are spread out before us. Our life’s work is to fit the pieces together, one by one, until the fullness of the picture is revealed. Each of us has access to the spirit of Wisdom within and we access different facets of Divine Wisdom as we journey with God. Coming together in fellowship, discussing with one another the wisdom we have collectively amassed allows us to add more pieces to the puzzle. Some pieces don’t fit, or at least we cannot understand how they fit into the puzzle at the moment they are presented. Put the pieces aside, perhaps at another time when other pieces are in place the pieces that previously didn’t fit will make sense, or the pieces may need to be thrown out completely as they are not meaningful to our journey. Divine Wisdom will help us sort through the pieces.
Wars have been fought, insane acts have been perpetrated on others with views different from our own. How are these evidence of living from the spirit of Divine Love and Wisdom and yet we say we are fighting God’s war, doing battle on behalf of God? Yeshua (Jesus) did not have a church building, had not established a new religion, although He did reference a new commandment in John 13: 34-35 when He said, “I am giving you a new command: that you keep on loving each other. In the same way that I have loved you, you are also to keep on loving each other. Everyone will know that you are my talmidim (disciples) by the fact that you have love for each other.” (The Complete Jewish Bible) Obviously, Yeshua didn’t see evidence of love in the religious practices of the day. How did Yeshua love? He loved through tolerance, accepting others where they were in the moment, and gently guiding them into deeper truth. Yeshua spoke the truth but did not condemn. How often are our words condemning, intolerant, not motivated by love?
Love must be the motivation for each word, each action toward another and toward ourselves. As we work to accept ourselves, the positives and negatives of our personalities, we will extend the love within outward to others. We see through a glass darkly but for now, we will trust, hope and practice love always until such time as we see clearly…..