Where is love? A prime example of a beautiful song from a classic musical, that gets sung too often in a different context from the original (searching for a romantic lover, instead of seeking the maternal love Oliver never grew up to know). And, quite frankly, a song that gets sung too often!
Some years ago, I was very pleased to read probably the best known chapter about “love” in the Bible, at a friend’s wedding – chapter 13 of Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth. The original context was for the caring, fellowship love between all Christians in the church, but it’s a good lesson in what marital love should include, too.
Reading it does remind me that “looking for … where is love?” is, well, kind of not what it says love is at all!! It’s not in any way about what I can get out of a person, friendship, relationship or situation. Instead, the chapter says that love looks like me acting in these ways it describes. Is this how I am being? If not, then whatever I’m doing, I’m not doing it in love. And it’s for marriage love, church love, family, friends, and even how I love my “neighbour” (anyone I meet!).
I still feel slightly stunned sometimes to have to be reminded that:
- “Love is patient.” To love people means to wait for them, making their timing more important than my own;
- “Love is kind.” To love people means to be warmly generous, making their needs more important than my own;
- “Love does not envy.” To love people means to be truly happy for everything good that they have, forgetting completely about whether I wanted it too;
- “Love does not boast.” To love people means not trying to show off or impress them, let alone trying to make them envious;
- “Love is not proud.” To love people means making them more important than myself;
- “Love is not rude.” To love people means to care about their feelings more than my reactions;
- “Love is not self-seeking.” To love people means to be selfless, actively seeking their good without counting the cost, seeking reward or trying to get my own way;
- “Love is not easily angered.” To love people means to be slow to anger with them;
- “Love keeps no record of wrongs.” To love people means to forgive them, and to forget, and not to hold any grudges;
- “Love does not delight in evil.” To love people means not to take pleasure in anything bad that happens;
- “Love rejoices with the truth.” To love people means celebrating being honest with them;
- “Love always protects.” To love people means never failing to look after them;
- “Love always trusts.” To love people means always believing them;
- “Love always hopes.” To love people means always seeing the best that will be, and helping them see that;
- “Love always perseveres.” To love people means to love them to the end.
Where is love? Sorry, Ollie, it’s not underneath the willow tree. But as a wise friend has often reminded me, love, real love, is never wasted. Even when it’s not returned, even if it seems to be chewed up and spat out and hate thrown back at you. Love never fails.