1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13 CSB
31 And I will show you an even better way.
1 If I speak human or angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give away all my possessions, and if I give over my body in order to boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, 5 is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. 6 Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will come to an end. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put aside childish things. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, as I am fully known. 13 Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love—but the greatest of these is love.
In our current world, love seems like a stop gap measure, a last resort because nothing else is working. Love becomes “what can I get out of this?” And by doing so, people are no longer treated as people, but pawns to manuever, to manipulate, to meet my goals.
But Scripture elevates love above that perspective. What Paul writes and Jesus perfectly exemplified is love that is given and learned from God. That kind of love willingly endures difficult times and circumstances. Love stands by a person when life is hardest, holding, caring, encouraging, and much more. That kind of love does not use people for personal gain nor practice one-up-man-ship. Love listens, cries, endures, holds, prays in the most difficult times.
Love does not look at barriers to stop something, nor to manipulate to get what we want. As Paul wrote: “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” May that be our guidepost in the coming year.
No matter the age, love is above all else central.