My Paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 13:1-8,13; 14:1a
by Harvey Bluedorn
Even though I continually speak the purest words of truth, yet I do not speak them lovingly, then I am failing to deliver their full spiritual force.
Again, even though I have the spiritual insight to answer the most difficult questions and I have the spiritual faith to move the most difficult obstacles out of the way and solve the most difficult problems, yet if I do not lovingly accomplish these things, then love – the principal element – is missing from the process, so my efforts amount to nothing.
Once more, even though I voluntarily give up all my possessions “for the sake of the poor,” and I voluntarily suffer severe deprivation, pain, and death “for the sake of the cause,” yet I do not voluntarily demonstrate love in the process, then I really haven’t accomplished anything “for the cause.”
This love graciously surrenders its own rights in order to give other sinners the room they need to work things out, and it graciously offers friendly assistance to help them down the right road; it doesn’t sit around steaming over how its rights have been violated or others are getting more than they deserve.
This love is not into the self-adoration cult – despising recognition given to others, boasting of itself, parading itself about for attention; rather it respects what belongs to others, shies away from being singled out for praise, and does not seek to draw attention to itself.
This love lives by good principles of conduct toward others and seeks their interests wherever it can; it does not behave like an unprincipled scoundrel who bullies and bulldozes his way over others in order to get whatever he wants.
This love seeks peace with everyone as much as it can on its part; it avoids taking personal offense and holding personal grudges.
This love hates wrongdoing but is not a fault-finder by profession; it loves the truth wherever it finds it.
When someone needs the protection of others, when someone needs the trust of others, when someone needs the hope of others, when someone needs the patience of others, this love never fails to step in and do what it can to supply the difference. This love is always there where it’s needed and when it counts.
Faith, hope, and love are all important, yet if you pursue faith by itself, or hope by itself – or for that matter, these other spirituals by themselves – then you’re going to fall short and get off track; but if you are continually pursuing love, then you’ll find it serves as the engine which pulls all the other cars into line.