You know the verse “love never fails,” from First Corinthians 13. It’s probably the most quoted scripture at weddings. Yet we’ve all seen relationships fail, and we’ve all experienced giving love that isn’t returned as we expected or hoped. So is it true?
Love can be a feeling, a demonstration of affection, and a relational bond. But first it’s a choice. Choosing love means regardless of how I feel, I commit to live in and from the reality love occupies. It doesn’t mean I always agree with you, that one of us is in control of the other, or there aren’t issues to work through. It means I value you as God does, because he is love itself.
The original word used in the verse for “fail” is unique. It doesn’t mean to be unsuccessful or insufficient, those are different words in Greek. Here, the definition is far deeper and more powerful. It’s a description of a chosen state of being, of a foundational union between you and God that can’t be shaken by circumstance or the choices of someone else. It’s a reality that prevents negativity from taking hold of you. It’s a mindset, a way of living, the manifestation of God’s kingdom in you.
“Love never fails” might be better understood this way:
Love doesn’t collapse under stress.
Love can’t be overwhelmed by fear.
Love isn’t diminished by sadness.
Love refuses to be occupied by bitterness.
Love will keep you from dying inside and losing yourself.
Love never fails.