The Cleveland chapter was blessed this month to be able to host Michael Guarino from YCP’s National Board. Michael took time out of his busy schedule to leave behind sunny Florida for Cleveland in January. He spent time with the group gathered talking about his work and his family and his faith. He had many stories and anecdotes, but the one that stuck out to me the most was when he asked how we “compare ourselves to Love.”
We are all familiar with the passage from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). It tells us what love is and is not. You know, it is patient and kind, not jealous, rude, or pompous. What Michael asked us was, what if you take out the word “love” and insert your name? Instead of “love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, is not pompous, is not inflated” can you put your own name where love is?
When he brought this up, it really made me pause and think- Can I confidently say that I fit this description of love? Am I patient? Not only with my family and friends, but also with co-workers who consistently ask for help or ask me to do work that really isn’t my job? Am I kind to people I meet, whether I know them or not? When a friend or coworker gets something that I want, a promotion, a new car, or whatever else it might be, am I jealous of that? Love is not jealous, so a part of loving our friend or coworker is to not be jealous of them.
That passage also describes love as not rude and not quick tempered. How often do I get angry at other drivers on the road when they cut me off or drive too slowly? Or how often do I drive rudely because I am impatient or in a hurry? If I was to compare myself to love, maybe I would be a kinder driver and not get angry when others drive poorly.
The final line is the most important thing to remember about love: “It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” If I want to compare myself to love then this is a line I will need to commit to heart. No matter who we are dealing with we should bear wrongs patiently, believe and hope for the best, and endure all that life may throw at us. I believe that if we can embody these features of love for those around us, then we can really put ourselves in the place of love in Paul’s letter and be the proof of love to those around us.
If I was to compare myself to love, how would my actions change? And not just big actions, but the small everyday ones, too. This can’t be something that we think only once in awhile, or after a speaker reminds us. This kind of change will need to be something that we work towards constantly. I know personally that I will have to work to remember to “compare myself to love” on a daily basis and be patient, kind, and all those things that Paul describes in his letter to the Corinthians. I like to think of myself as a fairly kind person, but there is always more I can do. So when Michael talked about how do you compare to love, that line really stuck with me, as a way that I can be the face of Christ to those I come into contact with in my daily routine. I hope that it also inspires others to take time for self reflection and ask yourself “How do I compare to love?”