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I'm back from vacation so our blog is back on its weekly schedule.
This week's blog is submitted by Phil Bell, retired pastor, University Baptist Church. He is a stroke survivor, and occasionally writes an article for the local newspaper. He permits us to post them, also. I apologize for the timing of this. It would have been a great June article, but I was traveling through South Dakota and Wyoming at the time.
True Love Always Assumes the Best!
Here we are in June. Not only is it both the unofficial and official first month of summer, but also the month most chosen by couples for their wedding. In the case of Christian church weddings, probably the most used passage in Scripture is 1st Corinthians chapter 13, referred to as the love chapter. We all have no doubt heard or read it at least once, if not many times. I am not going to include all of it, but I encourage you to read it all for yourself; especially if you’re married or in a serious relationship. I am going to include part of it, the part I want to address. In my Bible this chapter is entitled “The Excellence of Love.” Before I begin, I’d like to remind us that God is love, not the resemblance of love or having the most love, but very love itself. Now, this chapter begins by telling us that even if we are the most eloquent speaker in history and /or the smartest person who ever lived, and / or are the most generous person in the history of the human race, if we do not have love, we might as well not have existed. Paul, the author, goes on to list a picture of what real love is. Starting with verse 4, Paul writes, “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is no arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into an account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things.” I think we are pretty sure of what Paul is speaking of in his description of love, even if we aren’t always a picture of it, unless, possibly when he says, “Believes all things.” He is not saying to be gullible, but that, rather, love, given the possibility of two different ways to interpret the actions of a person, will always believe the best interpretation of that action. For instance, after my stroke I took physical therapy, weekly until about two months ago. My wife, Nancy continues to assist me, as she has since I returned home, with daily exercises. She is every bit as tough and demanding as my physical therapists were! I could interpret that as her doing so out of aggravation or out of wanting me to make a full recovery. My love for her requires me to assume the latter and I know it for sure! Another example is when she transfers me and I don’t stand very well at all, she could believe that I didn’t try very hard, am lazy, did it on purpose, or simply, tried my best and didn’t execute it well. Nancy’s love for me causes her to pick the last option, at least, most of the time! Actually, sometimes she accuses me of being lazy, which, of course, I vigorously deny! The truth be known, however, I can be a bit lazy occasionally, but please don’t tell Nancy I wrote that if you see her! My suggestion to you is to follow what Paul has written in the thirteenth chapter of his first letter to the church at Corinth! You will be on your way to making that relationship with your significant other a long one and making him or her very contented. God made us for relationship and His love in us demands we believe the best of those we love!
Phil Bell, retired pastor, University Baptist Church