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Infatuation vs Love: 1Corinthians 13:11

November 11, 2014

  1 Corinthians 13 New International Version (NIV)

13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 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. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 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. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 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. 12 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.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+13

When I 1st became a Christian, I loved the above verses. I still do. But I have always found verse 11 problematic. Why is this verse about maturity in with all these verses about love? Since the notes in my Bible didn’t say anything about it, I figured that everyone understood why it was there except me. I have thought on this for years and not found an answer.

I got a glimpse of what 1 Corinthians 13:11 means the other day when I was thinking on my husband. He had done something stupid. Now in the past when he did something stupid, I would be angry and make sure that he knew how dumb it was and basically be a royal jerk about it, but this time, something had switched and he was just a fellow human who made a mistake and I was able to calmly tell him that was a dumb move but we’ll get through it. And I realized that I loved him, all of him, mistakes and all.

IMG_7376When we were dating, I had a bad case of infatuation and for me, infatuation was all about fantasy. I loved him more for what I wanted him to be than who he was. Our first few years of marriage were hard because of this. He could pretend to be Prince Charming while we were dating, but once we were married, he found the act exhausting and it dropped. I was angry a lot and demanded to have my fantasy back. We were two very selfish people looking to serve ourselves. Our marriage was not pretty.

I did not give him the grace that I would even give a stranger on the street because I would not let go of my made up husband. I was too angry to let go and see him for who he was.

Somehow in the past 8 years of marriage, we both grew up and as I think about it, I am sure he started the maturing. He started sacrificing himself to serve me and our kids. He gave up the things he wanted to do for us. He helped around the house more and played video games less. He grew into a man who was different from my fantasy but so much better; so much stronger. He makes hard decisions for us now and they are good. He is a very good man.

A few weeks ago, I recognized that part of loving my husband as a fellow human being and giving him the same grace that I would want for myself or any other person on the planet is to let my fantasy die and learn who this person that I married really is.

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The definition that Paul gives above for love is grown up. Infatuation is immature and you have to grow up to really love someone else. I imagine that while Paul was writing what real love looks like, he may have been thinking back to what he thought love was back in his earlier days. Maybe he was shaking his head like I am thinking about how immature his ideas were and so he gently told the Corinthians that he understands their immaturity because he has been there, but grow up. Grow up so you can really love.

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I am just starting to listen to Paul on this. I think he is on to something.

Let the fantasy die on all the people in your life and start seeing them for who they are and then decide if you can love them for the reality. The fantasies don’t last and aren’t as good as the real thing anyways.

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