I’ve been seeing a quote circulating around social media lately that says “love never fails. So if it fails, know that it wasn’t love.” And I would just like to tell you why I wholeheartedly disagree with this.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not selfish, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
This verse gives an awesome description of what perfect, unfailing love looks like. In an ideal world, you would always be patient towards someone you love. You’d always be kind to them. You would never be proud or selfish or angry.
But I think it’s safe to say that we don’t live in an ideal world. I think it’s safe to say that this verse depicts a kind of love that will unwaveringly be shown by Jesus, and that we are absolutely supposed to strive after.
And I don’t know about you but… I am not Jesus.
And that means sometimes I get too angry with the people I love. Sometimes I’m not kind. Sometimes [a lot of the time] I’m not patient [at all]. Sometimes I’ll break someone’s trust. Sometimes I’m proud or arrogant or selfish [Lord knows].
I’m wholly imperfect and sometimes my love fails.
Does that mean it’s not actually love or that it was never love to begin with? No!!! Does it really suck knowing that sooner or later I’m going to hurt someone I love? Of course. Does it also suck when someone I love fails me in some way? Absolutely. But saying that love isn’t love unless it never fails is an unrealistic standard that only sets you up for disappointment.
I know this quote was mostly meant for the context of relationships. When one ends, it’s tempting to tell yourself I never loved them or I don’t need them to make it easier. But should that really be the attitude we have? I would argue not. I would say that’s letting bitterness and self-deceit take over our hearts.
I am not perfect. Therefore, my love cannot be perfect. But isn’t that the whole point of love?! When you love someone, you accept that their love towards you won’t be perfect; and at the same time, acknowledge that you know it’s still there and it’s still real. You’re willing to forgive. And they do the same for you.
“Above all, love each other deeply because love covers a multitude of sins.”
1 Peter 4:8
Love isn’t always easy, and I think that’s a good thing. Things that are beneficial and worth having aren’t always just a walk in the park. If love never failed, it would never teach us anything. It takes patience and humility and the willingness to extend lots and lots of grace.
So sometimes love fails. That’s not when you give up, though. That’s not when you say forget the whole thing because it was never love anyway. That’s when you pick back up the pieces, figure out what went wrong, and decide to become stronger from it.
In the context of relationships, sometimes you have to do this by yourself. Sometimes a separation really is what’s better. But denying the existence and the truth of love is not a good place to start on your journey.
Accept your imperfections. Admit your failures. Don’t hold the failures of others against them. Look to the example of Christ. Strive after it. Love as well as you can. That’s a much better place to start.