Love Never Fails
Karl Menninger was a psychiatrist and co-founder of the Menninger Foundation. He wanted to find out why people were in his clinic and what the root cause of their illness was. So he instructed his staff to treat all the patients in a loving manner, to create an "atmosphere of creative love." Within six months, the average time spent in the clinic was cut in half. Menninger concluded, "Love cures people -- both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it."
What does love mean? Love is misunderstood because the word is so overused. In English, we use the same word for a variety of experiences. We use it to mean enjoying, liking, and even lusting. We say, "I love warm sunshine," or "I love ice cream," or "I love my wife, or "I love God." The Greek language, in which the New Testament was written, has four words for love. The highest of these is the word "agape," which means a self-sacrificing love that is consistent and unconditional.
And, of course, the most famous use of agape is in I Corinthians 13, which has been called "the love chapter" and "the hymn of love." This chapter says if love is not behind any good work, it's all meaningless. But I want to draw you to the center of the chapter, verses 4 to 8, "Love suffers long and is kind," etc. These verses are a marvelous description of the love of God. In fact, God is the only one who is that unconditional and that consistent in giving love to anyone.
God's ultimate demonstration of His love was in giving His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross in our place. There are many familiar verses. John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son ..." Galatians 2:20: " ... who loved me and gave Himself for me." Romans 5:8: "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
So what does love really mean? It means that God, the one who knows everything about you, who knows all of the things even those closest to you don't know -- even that one little area of your life you keep hidden -- He knows, and He loves you anyway. Stay with me there a moment: He loves you anyway. He loves you consistently and unconditionally. And that's why Jesus Christ died -- to wash your sins away.
The more you study the love of God, the more unfathomable you'll find it to be. I invite you to read over 1 Corinthians 13 slowly, and as you do, think of God's love. My wish for you today is that you'll let God's love cure you, heal you, and save you.
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