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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
I remember some 15 years ago when I was hospitalized and in group therapy. A counselor asked the group to express how we felt in the moment. Each went in order and then the patient before me expressed his necessity to leave the hospital. There were obvious concerns in his life, he was greatly agitated. Then it was my turn. I expressed an annoyance too. There was a fly buzzing around in the room. I asked the counselor whether they knew that a typical house fly only lived for two days? She looked intrigued and asked me to go on. I said, the fly lives for two days and all I want to do is to kill it. The gentlemen before me repeated his desire to leave the hospital actually now seemingly bothered by what I said. Then I once again followed up with did you know a fly only lives for two days, and all I want to do is to kill it? He responded directly to me and said, yea, I heard you the first time. He didn’t ask or nobody else asked for me to explain myself, thus I interpreted the very inaction as nobody really cared not even the counselor. Perhaps If I could rewind time I would share what I have learned. It is our tendency to fix things especially among men. We feel an urgency or desire to fix problems in life. But fact is, life has a way of working things out in time. Life will run its course. Therefore, the urgency to kill the fly is simply my desire and want to fix things according to how I want them to be. In two days life will run its course and the problem fly which is annoying me in the moment will be resolved.