My devotion for today challenged me to read this aloud to myself each morning and evening for the next 30 days. The author said that it is "important to believe that we have value and that we are worthy to give of ourselves. This begins by knowing and accepting what our heavenly Father believes about us"
Here's the paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 13 by Dr. Dickerson. I've added the parentheses to the end of each sentence to show which part of 1 Corinthians he is describing.
Because God loves me, He is slow to lose patience with me. (Love is patient)
Because God loves me, He takes the circumstances of my life and uses them in a constructive way for my growth. (Love is kind)
Because God loves me, He does not treat me as an object to be possessed and manipulated.
(It does not envy)
Because God loves me, He has no need to impress me with how great and powerful He is because He is God. Nor does He belittle me as His child in order to show me how important He is.
(It does not boast, It is not proud. It does not dishonor others)
Because God loves me, He is for me. He wants me to mature and develop in His love.
(It is not self-seeking)
Because God loves me, He does not send down His wrath on every little mistake I make, of which there are many. (It is not easily angered)
Because God loves me, He does not keep score of all my sins and then beat me over the head with them whenever He gets the chance. (It keeps no record of wrongs)
Because God loves me, He is deeply grieved when I do not walk in the ways that please Him because He sees this as evidence that I don't trust Him and love Him as I should.
(Love does not delight in evil)
Because God loves me, He rejoices when I experience His power and strength and stand up under pressure of life for His name's sake. ( but rejoices with the truth)
Because God loves me, He keeps working patiently with me even when I feel like giving up and can't see why He doesn't give up with me too. (It always protects)
Because God loves me, He keeps on trusting me when at times I don't even trust myself. (always trusts)
Because God loves me, He never says there is no hope for me, rather, He patiently works with me, loves me and disciplines me in such a way that it is hard for me to understand the depth of His concern for me. (Always hopes)
Because God loves me, He never forsakes me even though many of my friends might. (Always perseveres)
Isn't it so cool to know that we are loved that much?!?! I have honestly never read this passage of scripture, and thought about the characteristics of love in that way. I've always thought about them as things I should be doing to demonstrate love.
Such refreshment to read such a commonly read scripture in a completely different way...
God LOVES me (and you!) in each of these ways. Despite my sins and failures. Now I am to show that same love to others. No matter the hurt they have done to me.....after all, Christ continues to love me throughout all I've done to Him.