Love...always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres...
- 1 Corinthians 13

I've always had a problem with the part of the "love chapter" that talks about how love "always trusts." It just seems a little on the naive side to me, at least on the first pass.

If there's one thing I know about people, its that, sooner or later, everyone - everyone - is going to let you down. The very recognition that there are no perfect people walking around necessitates the fact that in one way or another, the people in your life will betray your trust. The really difficult part of this reality is that those who are closest to you are likely to be the ones who will most betray your trust, because (naturally), they are the ones you place the most trust in.

One of the Psalmists knew this:

It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. - Psalm 118

As did the prophet:

Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he? - Isaiah 2

Even the Man himself said it:

This is what the LORD says: "Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD." - Jeremiah 17

But does all this mean that love for those on earth should be coy - expecting the betrayal to come and never really offering up a trusting back for the coming stab? Well of course not. But...still the dilemma.

We learn how to truly love others, with a trusting love, only when we look to the one who offered the ultimate act of love, on the cross. You see, Christ loved us with a perfect trust - not a trust in us - He knew (as we do) that the only thing humanity can be trusted to do is to betray. But he loved us, trusting in our betrayal, and trusting that His Father's plan was enough to cover all the shortcomings we could ever offer.

That's what allows us to love another person with a true, trusting love. We know that they will disappoint. But we trust that because Christ knew the ultimate betrayal on the cross - we have been given the ultimate love. And in that sense...nothing can ever let us down.


restored said...

well first i want to say thanks, i was in the middle of my quiet time and couldn't think of a verse i was looking for, so i googled what i could remember of it (when you think you're standing firm...), and your posting is what came up, so thank you for helping a sister out :) i agree that always trusting is definately difficult, because you are right, people will always let you down, hence rom. 3:23, we will all fall short. i think the hardest part of the love chapter for me to understand is the love never fails part. i know that perfect love never does, like God's love for us. But i've been in love once before and it failed. my only thought is that it wasn't all that 1 Cor. 13 talks about, i know that i fell short, but doesn't all human love? how do we know that it will not fail the next time? any thoughts?

David said...

Well...I think that's kind of what I was getting at above. Human love will always fail. Even in the best of marriages - my parents are still together and love each other very much after 30-some years, but its not like their love has never failed one another, at least in some senses.

I think the more deeply you understand the perfect love we have in Christ, the more driven you are to emulate it back to him, and for others.

So yeah, love will fail you. But only for a little while, here in this temporal place.

And remember - when you fail in love (and you will) - its an opportunity to either wallow in guilt, or accept his unyielding forgiveness and more deeply understand that there truly is no good in us.

Anonymous said...

Hi, one thing to note about "Love never fails" is that this begins a new paragraph where Paul compares love to the other spiritual gifts. I believe his primary meaning with "love never fails" is to reiterate why love is so important - it will go on forever!

Anonymous said...

Thankyou so much this is what I needed. May god bless u!!