The Most Beautiful Truth There Is
“Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:8-13
These lines come at the end of that beautiful passage that describes with such poetic elegance what love is. As I read them, peace washes over me in great bounds, because in all my searching for the right way to live out my faith in Christ in this world, I know that I merely “see in a mirror, dimly”. This world, and all my knowledge and all my understandings about Jesus and God, are mere reflections of the Truth. And one day, I will know that Truth. One day, I will come face-to-face with God, and my dark and swirling visions will become as clear and bright as the sun.
So we must remember. It is okay that we “know only in part.” It is okay to cradle our beliefs with an open hand and a teachable spirit. Because we are always, always seeing only one small part of the picture, one piece of God’s grand design and purpose for this world. It’s okay that we don’t know it all, and don’t have all the right opinions about the right issues. It’s okay that we screw up, that our distorted vision of life screws with how we think and relate to one another. That will happen, because we “see in a mirror, dimly.”
Yet what we must not lose sight of is what Paul says is greater than prophecy, greater than tongues and greater than knowledge—greater than all these things which will come to an end.
The ability to be patient and kind. The ability to restrain envy and boasting, arrogance and rudeness. The ability to step back and let others have their way, yet not be irritable or resentful about it. The ability to rejoice in truth and not wrongdoing. The ability to bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, endure all things. Love.
This is the standard by which our devotion to the living God will be measured: our ability to live out these things every day in our interactions with those around us, whether our hearts are willing or not. May we never lose sight of that beautiful truth.