"Love never gives up. Love cares for others more than for self. Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. Love doesn't strut, doesn't have a swelled head, doesn't force itself on others, isn't always 'me first', doesn't fly off the handle, doesn't keep score of the sins of others, doesn't revel when others gorvel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end."
~1 Corinthians 13:4-7
I used to teach second grade, so I have heard more than my share of voices shouting, "Me first!" From a second grader, it's expected. But what about us adults? Do we ever struggle with wanting to be the first in line ~ for that promotion, or for something as simple as the check out at the grocery store? Hmm...
How about people who fly off the handle? I have been around people who act this way, and it's unnerving, even frightening. What about the times when I fly off the handle? How am I being perceived by others? Oh boy...
Who among us likes to keep score of other people's sins? Let me rephrase this ~ who among us likes it when others keep track of our sins? Not so pleasant, especially when I have been guilty of this very thing.
The last line in this section is especially harsh. When I read, "doesn't revel when others grovel," the first thing that comes to mind are bullies. Bullies love to see people groveling. They love the high that comes from making another person feel small and insignificant. Is there anything less attractive than a bully? As unappealing as they are, I believe bullies are people who are miseable and who want to make everyone else feel as badly or worse than they do. Have I ever been guilty of this?
Clearly, all of the things in this one little section are in direct opposition to agape love. Now it's time for me to really personalize it. How often do I set foot in these slums? What causes me to even consider visiting a neighborhood like this? How often do I cry inside my spirit, "Me first!"? What about those times when I lose it and fly off the handle? What possesses me to keep a mental record of the wrongs someone has committed against me? Why would I ever want to make someone feel unimportant? Maybe I can begin by blaming familiarity ~ we gravitate toward what we are comfortable with, and what has been modeled for us in the past. But still, why would I want to inhabit these slums when I can move to a much nicer neighborhood? AGAPE Lane is calling me. I'd be a fool not to go.
"Love does not dominate; it cultivates."
~Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe