Love Never Falls Down
By Blake Barbera
“Love never fails…” 1 Corinthians 13:8a
Have you ever been to a Bible study where someone asked the question: “how could a loving God judge the world”? We humans tend to ask the wrong questions. If love is understood on its own terms, the question should rather be “how could a loving God not judge the world?”
What separates love from all other attributes is that it is adaptable: it always suits the situation at hand. Love acts in ways which best serves others. In religious circles, we often think that niceness is the pinnacle of human behavior; if I can just be nice in any given situation, I’ll surely end up making a difference for the good. The last thing the world needed in September 1939 was for Europe to be nice to the Nazis. Diligence, like niceness, is a wonderful quality to possess, unless you find yourself being diligent in the wrong things. Unlike love, niceness and diligence are tailored to specific circumstances. They are unable to become what is necessary in any situation. The woman caught in adultery needed both an advocate and a counselor; a defender and a firm commander. In a moment, love took multiple forms: “neither do I condemn you, now go your way and stop sinning,” (John 8:11). At times love is like a soft blanket which envelops and comforts us; at others, it is like a stake driven deep into the ground before us.
The Greek word piptō (translated in the NIV as “fails”) quite literally means “to fall down.” The reason love is supreme over every other attribute is because it always acclimates to meet the present need. It never takes a spot on the bench. It never stumbles as a result of being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Many attributes exist that are worth pursuing, but love is supreme because it is always seeks what is best for others, while at the same time possessing the ability to become whatever that might be.