In the Bible, the first book of Corinthians, chapter 13 verse 8 says:
‘Love never fails’.
It sounds good, doesn’t it? Great for weddings and greeting cards, and I’m sure most of us would like to find a love that lasts forever, but is it true? Doesn’t love fail sometimes?
Yes, I think in a human context love fails… often.
I’m a parent and I love my kids but, even though I would rather die than let anything terrible happen to them, I know my love is flawed. I make mistakes (frequently), I hurt their feelings when I get angry and I’m sure there are times they feel disappointed that I haven’t given them the attention they want from me. My love has great intentions but the delivery, at times, falls short of the mark. In short, it fails.
But maybe we’re looking at the word ‘fails’ wrong. What if you were to interchange ‘fails’ with ‘ends’, in other words ‘love never ends’? Again, in human experience it does, and sadly, all too frequently. How many times have a man and woman stood before their nearest and dearest, promising to love till death and yet somehow the love they have doesn’t quite last? It’s sad but it happens. Life can get hard and sometimes love just doesn’t quite make it through difficult bits.
It’s a bleak picture of so-called ‘unfailing love’ isn’t it? Yet love is a sought after, and seemingly integral, part of life despite its track record. It gives people purpose almost as though through love (in all its forms) we find a reason to be. Maybe then we could say that without love, everything else fails?
Is the Bible wrong?
So is the Bible wrong? Is there ever an instance where ‘love never fails’? For that I think we have to go back to the source. The Bible says in 1 John chapter 4 and verse 8:
‘God is love’.
So if God is love, you could conceivably read ‘Love never fails’ as ‘God never fails.’ The Bible also tells us that God is constant, never-changing, never gone and never-failing. So no, it’s not wrong at all when looking at love from a God’s-eye view. Where human experience can hurt and disappoint us, the love of God has no such failings. His love paid the ultimate price, through His son Jesus, so that we may know real love and see how unfailing it is.
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