Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – June 22, 2019
If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
Temperamentally, I love clarity and precision. Tell me what needs to be done and the exact order in which it needs to happen. I’m the odd soul who finds great joy and delight in reading instruction manuals and assembly guides! While this may be helpful and necessary when it comes to Ikea furniture or appliance installation, the same mindset can be devastating to the spiritual life.
In the most famous of all of Paul’s writings, he introduces his chapter on love with a reflection on the necessity of love to infuse every act of faith. In these few verses, he lists off many deeds that we would all agree are to be praised: the gifts and power of the Holy Spirit, giving away your earthly possessions to those in need, even the greatest sacrifice of one’s own life. Yet to each of these, Paul says “nothing is gained” if these are not done with a heart filled with the love of God motivating our actions and behaviors.
One of the most prolific theologians of the 20th century was a Swiss theologian named Hans Urs von Balthasar. In one of his most beloved books, Love Alone is Credible, he reminds us,
“The Spirit of holiness and love is also the Spirit of wisdom and knowledge about love; and they are in fact one and the same Spirit: truth and love are inseparable wings—for truth cannot fly without love—and love cannot hover without truth.”
Truth gives definition and direction to love. Love gives compassion and kindness to truth. So often the troubles in our lives are linked to love without truth or truth without love. The daily call upon our lives is to seek their inseparable union. How many times have I wielded truth like a weapon, winning a battle while losing the war? How many times have I attempted to love yet lacked clarity on what was, in fact, the truly loving thing in that situation?
“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).
Jesus reminds us that truth and love are found in the gift of one’s self for the good of the other. When we struggle to love well or see what is true, we return afresh to the truth and love of God shown to us in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. It is there that perfect love and timeless truth are found.
Father, infuse all our efforts with the life of the Spirit, empowering us to live as witnesses to the truth and love of Jesus. Amen.
Where has your life reflected truth without love, or love without truth?
Truth gives definition and direction to love. Love gives compassion and kindness to truth. #WisdomHunters #truth&love #Jesus
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