Tuesday, February 13

When you feel like a failure

My life isn't pink. Maybe yours isn't either.

But when Valentine's Day is upon us, it can feel as if we're the only ones not celebrating with all things pink, can't it?

And all the talk of love and sweethearts can make us feel as if we're short on the one thing that the whole world seems to proclaim is all you need.

A world bathed in pink and swathed in roses can make a person feel like an awful failure, you know?

When I want to know more about love, I turn to the passage of scripture that was read at my wedding: I Corinthians 13. I'll bet you've read it:

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.

And then I really feel like a failure. As much as I may want to exhibit that kind of love, I rarely do so. I wish I could say that I always protect, always trust, always hope, always persevere, but I don't.

But oh, my friend, I have good news. That passage is not about me. It's not about you, either. Our failure is not the point.

That beautiful passage in I Corinthians is a description of God's love for us. The Greek word for this kind of love is ἀγάπη. Written in English, it's agápē.

That's not to be confused with the English word "agape," which, usually referring to the mouth, means "wide open, especially with awe or wonder"—but that's probably how you'll look when you realize the kind of love that God has for you.

It's a funny thing: we often quote verses like John 3:16, but we sometimes have difficulty realizing that God's love applies to us. But it does. God loves YOU, God loves me, God loves us all with a love that never fails.

That's the kind of love God wants to share with us. So that very same word, agápē, is listed as the first fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22. The good news is that we don't have to manufacture this kind of love; the Holy Spirit will produce it in us. 

My friend Dallas Willard said it best, I think:

"We must understand that God does not "love" us without liking us - through gritted teeth - as "Christian" love is sometimes thought to do. Rather, out of the eternal freshness of his perpetually self-renewed being, the heavenly Father cherishes the earth and each human being upon it. The fondness, the endearment, the unstintingly affectionate regard of God toward all his creatures is the natural outflow of what he is to the core - which we vainly try to capture with our tired but indispensable old word 'love.'" (The Divine Conspiracy)

God is this kind of love (see I John 4:8), and God shares this love freely with us. We are not failures; we are beloved children of God. 

Now that word would make a good Valentine's Day treat, wouldn't it?
Much love to you!


  1. Thank you for the kind post today! I feel loved already:)

  2. You ARE loved, Nanni 2 4! It's good news, isn't it?

    Every blessing to you!

  3. I Agree the fact that love does not fail, It just regrow from our self. Thank you for this kind post. I added with a extra plus happiness now.
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