What's Love Got to Do With It?
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. - 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
According to Paul, love is God’s guiding principle for existence. Love is the concept that everything else depends upon. For Paul, love is the way by which all reality binds together; it is the framework of the universe and helps it make sense. However, my inner cynic is not easily disposed to this concept. I often ask myself, to quote the famous Tina Turner song, “What’s Love Got to Do with It?” I don’t often see how love manifests itself in my daily life and how I encounter it in the people with whom I cross paths. What is love for me? What is love to me?
In Tina’s song, she conveys the thoughts and feelings of a woman who, through past hurts and failures, has become wary of love and is cautious of a new romance developing in her life. As the song goes, “Oh what's love got to do, got to do with it? What's love but a second hand emotion? What's love got to do, got to do with it? Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken?” Given Turner’s own romantic difficulties in life, the most notable being abused by her former husband Ike Turner, one can understand the singer’s caution when it comes to the problematic field of love. Despite the seeming cynicism and bitterness of the chorus, the song still conveys a sense of hope in her newfound partner and that this time, things will be different.
Clearly, the bitterest byproduct of love is that it can lead to disappointment; nothing pains the heart more than fractured trust and abandoned promise. There is no worse experience than love unrequited or love that degrades and breaks down due to miscommunication or misunderstanding. In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he is addressing what has become a love-issue in the community. Things are falling apart; the Corinthian community is not living up to this loving way taught by Christ Jesus. His reminder to the community regarding the nature of love includes a gentle admonition: love is the way of Christ and the entire summation of the law, please act accordingly.
However, Paul’s reproof indicates hope in itself; this community has lost its way, but through God’s healing Spirit can it can begin to love anew and abide in all things through this newfound power. Love hurts because it is the ultimate act of vulnerability; however, that same vulnerability is the source of all hope for every living creature. It is what makes us human, this ability to love, that illustrates the very essence of our mortality. Love is where God and humanity meet in discordant harmony and illumines our way forward. When your inner cynic cries out, asking “what’s love got to do with it?” remember that love is as vital as breath and is the act of recognizing the value and power of one’s own soul. As Paul puts it in another letter, “all the law has been fulfilled in a single statement: love your neighbor as yourself” (Galatians 5:14).
Well…what’s love got to do with your life? What past hurts might be impairing your ability to live into this more excellent way?
See more devotions from Kyle and our other Young Adult writers, or find our how you can become a writer yourself at our By Young Adults for Young Adults devotion page.