Love is the strongest message we have
In his latest column, Norwich local government officer, author and Proclaimers church member, James Knight, looks at the eternal subject of love and what it really means.
Last week’s message was about friendship; this week I want to
rn to love. We had an amazing time last Friday, speaking to people in the city centre. I met the Street Pastors in Norwich, and then went onto the Hotel Nelson where I ended up talking to two guys until about 5am.
There are so many people out there who are in need of some spiritual guidance, and it remains, on a personal level, very rewarding having the opportunity to talk with them.
I want to encourage us all that love is truly our strongest message board. Love has, to some extent, become diluted in this contemporary age. Mention the word ‘love’ to some people, and it evokes feelings that pertain to those ill-conceived class of words that are best detached from love.
Jealousy is one example. In truth, jealously belongs to ‘loving one’s self’ more than it belongs to ‘loving another’, for if you spend your time jealous you do not really have enough resources left to love. He who wants to please his lover is often making his presence known, but he who wants to truly love is already present within her.
The conversation with my companions in the Nelson started analytically and ended lovingly. When speaking with those we disagree with; those whose objections to the faith are spurious, it has always been very noticeable that they respond better to love and compassion than to anything else.
Love is not about commandeering; it is about cultivating. Of course there will be strong-felt objections to Christianity. But to ‘love your neighbour’ is to offer your help without imposition – and if he or she refuses it, be glad that they have the strength of self-worth.
Intelligence, knowledge, wisdom, and sagacity can help us become good Christians; love can help us become great Christians – great in the sense that to love, is to be more Christ-like, and therefore, in trying to be more like Christ, we shall be humble too.
And it should be said that there is one great consolation attached to love. Those who struggle to direct the course of their lives; who struggle to make an impact on other people’s lives – love itself will be a master of direction for them.
Love with all your heart and you will find that the love you possess, through your relationship with Him that loves most, is able to guide you abundantly. When Christ looks at the impact we have on others, I think He looks at two things – what we are doing; and more importantly, how much love we put into doing it.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not 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 have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, 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 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...And now these things remain: faith, hope and love.
But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:1-8, 13
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