If I speak in the tongues Or languages of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If 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. 3If 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.4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.8Love 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. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11When 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. 12For 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.13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.1 Corinthians 13, NIV
Initially when I read this, I think of a momma bear protecting her cubs. However, I also think it’s important to recognize that ‘love always protects’ doesn’t mean that ‘love covers things up’. That would go in direct contradiction to ‘love rejoices in truth’. If you are in a relationship where you are being hurt, PLEASE don’t read this as a conviction to say everything is okay in order to protect the person you love. Instead, it should be a note to outsiders to come and stand by you while you heal.
Love always protects means a lot of things to me.
I think it applies to social justice.
Standing up for the voiceless and oppressed.
Using your position of privilege to prop up someone who’s been disadvantaged.
Assuming the best in people.
When a bone is broken, we strengthen it with a cast in order to protect what is weak. When a baby is learning to walk, we will shield their head when they start to fall. When your child asks you the same question for the 50th time in the last two hours, we forgive them for being obnoxious. We do this, out of love. ‘We strengthen what is weak, shield what is vulnerable, and forgive what is provoking.’ – Author Unknown
Are there relationships in your life, where your loved one needed a protector, and you missed an opportunity to be that for them? How can we more easily identify those opportunities?