1 Corinthians 13:
" If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
When we were little, my sister and I had a kitchen playset. It came with pots, pans, and little knobs that did absolutely nothing but looked pretty cool. It also came with a whole lot of plastic food items.
Now, I knew they weren't real. They were made of the same stuff as the rest of the playset. But they looked real. So, every once in a while, I suspended my disbelief and stuffed one of them in my mouth. It didn't matter if it was an orange or a hotdog; the result was always the same. I tasted it, spat it out, and walked away disappointed without wiping off the spit.
Some relationships are like that. You know there isn't a scrap of real love for miles, but you keep settling for something that looks like it, maybe even feels like it. Eventually, something or someone brings you to your senses and you "spit it out" and walk away.
But that's not the way love was meant to be. Real love comes from God, and can't be found in the world. It contains the hallmarks Paul wrote about. Everything else is a counterfeit, a shadow.
Don't settle for plastic.
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