We have an idiom in the West, to “fall out of love.” Merriam-Webster simply defines the idiom this way: “to no longer feel romantic love for someone.” Even the definition seems cold and detached. What if there is actually no such thing as falling out of love? What if, instead, we lose focus and perspective on what love really is? Is it possible that love needs to be readjusted, and readjusted often?
I think that’s what was going on in 1 Corinthians 13 when Paul reminded the Corinthian church about what true love requires. The Corinthians didn’t fall out of love with each other. Instead, they lost focus on what true love really looks like. Paul says, “If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor. 13:3-7 ESV).
Paul very patiently readjusted their vision of love. Love was reignited in the Corinthian church. People began to treat each other with kindness and respect again. We need reminders often that love is a beautiful thing and it requires us to treat one another with all patience and kindness. When we do that, God’s love shines in us.