1 Corinthians 13 - Love (Part One)

If I speak with the languages of men and of angels, but don’t have love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains, but don’t have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my goods to feed the poor and if I give my body to be burned, but don’t have love, it profits me nothing.

Love is patient and is kind. Love doesn’t envy. Love doesn’t brag, is not proud, doesn’t behave itself inappropriately, doesn’t seek its own way, is not provoked, takes no account of evil; doesn’t rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never fails. 

1 Corinthians 13:1-8

You cannot be commanded to love. Obligatory love is not love.  We can certainly be required to act in a way that imitates love, but that is not love.  If I give away everything to feed the poor, and I don't do it out of true love, it profits me nothing!  This ought to offend everyone who equates faith with good conduct. Something more is possible.  In the first paragraph, Paul is exhorting us to really fall in love with one another.  

Faith is not a value system; faith is a belief system.  Certainly, that belief system includes belief in the existence of God and (for Christians) belief that Jesus accomplished something by his life and death that was beyond our ability. It also includes the belief that each of us is unequivocally and irrevocably a beloved child of God.  If we truly believe that, as we must, we see each other with new eyes.  Then we are able to give life to Paul's second paragraph.