”Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become a sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.   And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. 

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.”  (1 Corinthians 13:1-8)

Love.  Oh how we, how I, have shamed the word so many times, and in so many ways.  Love is one of the most misused, misunderstood, abused, scorned, and hungered for state of being ever known to man.  Too often humans mislabel love.  The most common mislabel is lust, it is still a four letter L word, but lust is strictly of the flesh.  Love is something more.   Love goes beyond the heart, beyond the mind, and beyond the soul.  Love must consume all three.  Your mind has to be saturated with love for love to put its stamp on your heart.  Your heart has to be drenched in love for it to flood your soul.  And your soul has to be filled with love to keep a consistent rain saturating your mind.  There is no other way to love; at least not according to the Lord.

Now I know there are different kinds of love; and so many people (I used to be one of them) claim there are different levels of love.  The brutal truth is I was wrong.  I wanted to comfort and consol myself to my own shortcomings when faced with the unfathomable depths of love.  I wanted to put my own limits and borders and definitions on love, calling it nothing more than an emotion which comes and goes.  If I could successfully diminish love I could then escape the responsibilities that come with love, and abuse the word as freely as I wanted to.  That isn’t love.  I called it love, I tried to convince myself it was love—at times I was successful—and I did my best to prove it was love to those I claimed to love.

So what is love then?  I will give you my best explanation of love as I know it; but please understand that in the endless sea that is Love, I am not that far from the shore.  There are different ‘kinds’ of love; such as I do not love my mom with the kind of love that I love my soul mate, and I do not love my soul mate with the kind of love that I love my best friend.  However, and this is a HUGE however, I do love all of them with the same intensity, the same depth, and from my heart, mind, body, and soul.  I have to.  It is the only way to truly, honestly, and purely love someone.

(I am going to give two versions of each verse as the words used might reach each person differently.  The message is always the same.)

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.” (1 Corinthians 13:1 NKJ)

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” (1 Corinthians 13:1 NIV)

I could be the most well spoken human being on earth.  If my words could paint such beautiful poetry that God would be proud; if my tongue could express myself in such a pure way that would sit me comfortably among angels …. It wouldn’t be enough.  All of that would be noise, white noise, to be interpreted by the ears of men.  Gongs and cymbals make music; and music speaks to people in different ways to mean different things.  Love is not like that.  Love does not depend on different view or various interpretations.  Love is not meant to be seen one way by one person and another way by another person.  Love is absolute.  Love is truth.

Love is more than pretty words spoken—or written—in the correct order.  My lips can pen the words of love, but unless my love goes beyond my lips and deeper than my skin, it is just noise.  It is just lip service.  It is meaningless.  I do not want my love filled words to be up for interpretation or debate.  I want my words of love to come with a powerful force, a tangible sensation, so there is no doubt to my meaning.  My words of love shouldn’t leave you doubting, or uncertain.  If my words of love do this, then I have failed to love you properly. 

I have failed to love people properly so many times.  Countless times my words are harsh, they sting and wound, or I speak them from a place that does not know love.  It doesn’t matter how ‘true’ my words are or if I am ‘right’ in speaking them.  Those words don’t come from a place of love.  If you love someone you want to be brutally honest with them; but if you truly love someone honesty never needs to be brutally.  There is always another concise way to say something.

“And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:2 NKJ)

“If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:2 NIV)

Imagine if a person could know everything, understand everything, and be able to tell the future—all the promises offered to Adam and Eve with that forbidden fruit—and then we add in the faith of a mustard seed that Jesus Christ spoke of to move mountains, why that person would be powerful.  That person would be rich, famous, and likely known throughout the world.  Heck, people with heaps less than any one of these things are known throughout the world.  You would think this person would be great.  But, again a HUGE but, if this person did not have love they would be nothing.  Ouch.

Just knowing something isn’t enough.  I could spend my whole life getting to know my parents, my siblings, my family, my friends, and my soul mate.  I could devote myself to this task so much that I know them better than they know themselves.  I can have faith in them that they will never hurt me, or do bad things to me, or knowingly do me harm.  This doesn’t mean I love that person.  My case files, encyclopedias, and mass market research on who a person is does not equal love.  All the time I spent gathering all of this does not equal love.  I don’t love someone because I know them.  I know someone because I love them. 

This is a part of love I have often messed up.  I thought if I knew someone enough, or I put in enough time with them, it would prove I loved them.  My motivation was wrong.  This sort of thinking is done to search for love and to comfort myself that even if I don’t have love I will have performed actions to show love.  When the truth is without the love being there initially my actions mean nothing.  If I knew a person inside and out, but felt no love for them, my relationship with them holds no meaning.  It is just useless facts.

Now love can develop in the learning process; and I promise you that you will know the instant it does.  The moment you begin to love someone in learning about them the learning becomes second place.  The person you love is less of a research project and more a life companion.  When I began to learn about the people I love from a place of love, my process of learning changed drastically.  I talked less and listened more.  My questions were less about action and background, and more about heart and soul.  When you seek knowledge, faith, and understanding in another person from a place of love you no longer want to know the answer to the mysteries.  The mysteries and the future hold less of an appeal because you would rather discover them together so that every day is like Christmas morning.   The person becomes more important than the knowledge. 

I have put aside my charts, maps, and research papers.  I have begun to make myself present, truly there with all my being, when I am with someone I love.  I don’t need to take notes or jot down important dates because those facts hold less importance.  The individual, the soul, the whole person is so much more than any data I can gather.  All that is icing on the cake.  And I am very glad I have stopped mistaking the icing for the cake … because I have missed out on the delicious center of so many beautiful people.

“And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:3 NKJ)

“If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:3 NIV)

Ah so many times I thought my good deeds, my selfless works, and my sacrifices meant I loved someone.  Why, after all, would I be doing any of this if I did not love the person?  The answer is not a pretty one.  I did it for myself, for my own conscious, and to give me the ‘out’ I need for actually putting energy, work, and time into loving someone.  Usually these deeds, these selfless works, and these sacrifices are a lot smaller.  They are all the pretty baubles and flashy lights to distract you from all the ways I haven’t loved you at all.

It is easy to see the beggar on the corner and give him a $20.  I would do this and tell myself, “See, self, I have loved another human being.”  This is far from the truth.  If I were to honestly love that person I would have bought him a meal, given him something to keep him warm, given him money, and asked if he had a place to stay.  I know you are probably wondering why anyone would do that for a stranger these days; there are too many crazy, evil, dangerous people out there.  This is true.  My fear, my self-preservation, has kept me from loving others.  And no matter how much I want, no matter how much I try, I cannot call that offering of money love.  It’s not.  The truth is I gave that money to make myself feel better.

And what does that get me?  Nothing.  It makes me feel less guilty on my drive home, but it does nothing for the beggar and it does nothing for my heart.  Throughout my life I have always done the bare minimum when it comes to love.  Sadly this thinking is the worst kind of virus spreading through our world.  We do just enough to make ourselves feel better so that we can point out our deeds, or sacrifices, and say “See!!  Look I love you I did this for you!!”  When in truth we did it for ourselves.

Love has no place in this sort of action or thought.  Love cannot be bought with works or sacrifices.  This is really hard to fully, completely grasp in a world where everything is for sale.  It has only been in these last handfuls of years that I have begun to understand that love comes without a price.  It is given without a receipt.  Love is not exchanges of you scratch my back and I scratch yours.  I no longer do things because I love someone.  I no longer offer things because I love someone.  I no longer sacrifice things, or myself, because I love someone.  Love isn’t about me.

It is about the person you love.  Love prompts me to do something nice, say something nice, give something sweet, or yield up pieces of myself.  It may seem like a subtle distinction, but there is nothing subtle about it.  There is nothing subtle about the difference in the treatment of the beggar mentioned above.   There was nothing subtle, for me, in acting out of love.  When I act from a place of myself I often seek recognition for what I have done.  I want to be thanked.  I want my actions to be noted.  Whether the payment is a smile, a “thank you”, a hug, or something else …it is still a payment.  When I began to give out of a place of love it didn’t matter if my action was noticed or not.  I no longer cared about the “thank you” or the hug.  Those things weren’t the reason I did what I did. 

My motivation came from love, and seeing that love at work in the lives of those I love was enough.  The happiness, joy, ease, or help playing out in the lives of those I love was my profit.  It was my joy.  Seeing the person I loved happy, surprised, or what-have-you was enough.  I no longer needed anything in return.  I no longer was a player in the action.  In taking myself out of these scenarios I was freed of the chains of selfishness and allowed to waltz in love. 

“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;” (1 Corinthians 13:4 NKJ)

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” (1 Corinthians 13:4 NIV)

Now come the more specific things that love is, and is not.  Love is patient; seems easy enough.  But when was the last time you lost your patience with your friend, your parent, your spouse, or your child?  This is probably one of the hardest aspects of love.  It will only get harder the more our world teaches, promotes, and makes readily available instant gratification.  We want what we want and we want it now!  The word ‘now’ doesn’t really have a place in the sea of love.  If you have time limits, or expiration dates, in your relationships you don’t love that person.  I don’t say this out of personal perfection; I speak from Christ’s example. 

If Jesus is true, and Jesus is love, then it stands to reason that in loving someone else I should have the same patience for them that Christ has for me.  And I can’t tell you the depths of my gratitude that Jesus does not love as I love.  If He did, I would burn in hell for all eternity.  The number of times I have broken the heart of my Lord is countless.  I have made God wait on me more times than there are stars in the heavens.  He has never turned His back on me because He loves me.  There is no end to patience in love.  It is always there.  It is long suffering.  It is a struggle for me to throw out my time tables every day; but every day I strive to do so.

Kindness is another kicker.  Love, by its very nature, requires that I be vulnerable and exposed to the people that I love.  In loving another person I will always, always, end up hurt in one fashion or another.  Why?  Because I am a sinner, fallible, and imperfect; just like every one of you.  And when I am hurt it is only natural to want to retaliate, lash out, or to pay back my dues.  When I do these things I do not love a person.  When someone I love has hurt me, to repay that pain with pain is not love.  Love, rather, requires you to be kind to your offender.  To take the pain, or the hurt, and still love the person.  I am not asking you to be a doormat, or to suck it up, or to even hide your pain.  There are ways to express pain, hurt, and displeasure in a kind way.  These ways can only be found if you look for them with love and through love. 

And sadly sometimes the only kindness love can afford you is to walk away from a poisonous person.  Jesus did not let the Pharisees walk all over him.  He did not go knocking on their door seeking to shower them with love and opening himself up to their abuse.  He loved them, offered them His love, and when it was abused and rejected He stepped away.  His heart was always open to those who changed their minds and came back to Christ.  Kindness does not require you to stay in an abusive house, but it does require you to leave the door open should your abuser come back with an honest repentance, and need of forgiveness. 

To not envy someone you love seems easy enough.  This is because most people assume that envy simply means not wanting what the person you love has.  The not coveting is only half of envy, the other half is not feeling any sort of discontent about it.  The not feeling discontent is the harder aspect of envy.  Envy leads to bitterness, and inequality.  In envying someone you are putting them above you.  It is impossible to love someone who is not your equal.  Love doesn’t work like that.  Love requires, demands, that each person be one side of the same coin.   When I start to divvy up who has the better this, or the more of that, I have turned my relationship into a set of scales that weighs coin.

Envy goes beyond possessions to popularity, and it reaches into success.  How many times have you heard “I make the money so I make the rules”?  That sort of thinking, of being the ‘bread winner’ sets up, decorates, and inhabits a house of envy.  Love has no place in envying the people you love, but it also has no place in creating situations for others to envy you. 

Which leads into the next point, boasting.  When I do something good, or get recognized for something I’ve done, I naturally want to share it with those I love.  Love, however, draws a very distinct line between sharing and boasting.  I am guilty of stepping over that line and at times even tap dancing across it.  It is easy to boast because I want to show people how good I am, or that I am worthy of their love and praise.  Boasting is all about me me me.  It is an easy one to slip up on because if no one else toots my horn, don’t I have to?

Love, again, is not about me.  The point of me loving you isn’t to earn your love in return.  The point of me loving you isn’t to make me seem like the best thing since sliced bread.  The point of me loving you isn’t to put me up on this pedestal.  If I am to love you I have to be the opposite side to your coin; not your weight and measurer, and certainly not my own weight and measurer. 

With weight, size, scales, and measurements comes the last thing love is not in this verse: pride.  My own pride has slaughtered so many relationships.  My pride has shattered the hearts of so many wonderful people in my life.  My pride is my love’s worst enemy.  There is no place for pride in love.  No place.  And it is hard.  When I love my soul mate without any pride the world tries to make me feel ashamed for it.

I love Jeremy whether or not he loves me back.  I love Jeremy whether or not he sleeps with another woman.  I love Jeremy whether or not he chooses to be with me.  Jeremy never has to apologize to me.  Jeremy will never know a ‘last chance’ with me.  I will always take Jeremy back into my life should he ever decide to leave it.  Jeremy could crush my heart, stomp on the shattered pieces, and laugh while dancing a jig on the fine dust left behind.  And with complete humility my heart will still be his.  Why?  Because I love him.  Because my pride has nothing to do with how I feel about him. 

This sounds ridiculous and incredible, unbelievable, maybe even foolish.  But thank you Jesus for loving me without pride.  Because I know I have done this, and so much worse to Your heart, and You always ALWAYS take me back.

“does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;” (1 Corinthians 13:5 NKJ)

“It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” (1 Corinthians 13:5 NIV)

It is very easy for me to look at my over all relationship with someone I love and say I have not been rude to them.  It is easy for me to look at my over all actions during a single day and to say I have not been rude to the people I love.  But, as I have learned, love is not easy.  When I tell my mother I will call her back, and I don’t, that is rude.  When I tell my friend I will meet them at 6 pm, and I get there at 6:15 pm, that is rude.  When I interrupt what my soul mate is saying, that is rude.  When I disagree, argue, or point out how the person I love is wrong … in a public setting … I am being rude.  Love demands that I treat those I love with respect.  This isn’t always an easy thing to do.  Too often I fall prey to the want and need to be ‘right’ or to ‘have the last word’.  These ideas, thoughts, needs, and wants have no place in a love filled relationship.  With how prevalent and popular rudeness is in our culture right now it is especially hard to escape it.  Rudeness is highly praised a lot of the time.  So I struggle with going against the flow in the name of love.

More than once I have already touched on the fact that love is not about me.  When I love someone I cannot have myself at the center.  I have learned, very painfully at times, that to truly love someone it cannot depend on what I get out of it.  If I can only love someone who loves me back, or who gives me something return—whether that is kindness, favors, or physical pleasure—then the truth is I don’t love them.  I love what they can do for me or do to me.  My love is all about me, which isn’t love at all.  Love needs to come without strings, without conditions, without borders, without expectations, and with the no hope or agenda for anything in return.  If you can love someone like that (and I have learned that I can) then you can say in all honesty you love them.  If you can’t then you need to explore why.  Love should never be a reaction.  Love is a decision.  Love is a constant action, a constant thought, and a constant state of mind.

If, for me and you, love is all the above then it simply cannot be easily provoked to anger.  If every word I have written before, and every little dot and iota of Scripture written above is true, then there is no place for a short temper in the world of love.  It simply isn’t possible.  If you have all the patience in the world for someone you love, if you only want to do them kindness, if you feel no envy toward them, and have not boasted or live in a world of pride, and if you lack rudeness and have only sought with all your being to love this person …you will find it is impossible to get angry with them.  Because anger is all about what has been done to you; and love is all about what you can do for another person. 

Now I cannot say I love like this.  The only person who can is Christ.  But just because I can’t meet this standard doesn’t mean I shouldn’t reach for it.  I will admit I do get angry with the people I love, but I need to accept that in those moments of anger I am no longer loving the person I am angry at.  In that moment, in that realization, I need to reevaluate the situation.  Which is more important, my anger and pain, or my love for this person?  For all the times I have chosen my own anger and my own pain are all the times I realize I don’t love as I should.  It is in those moments when I am forced to humbly, and shamefully, admit that maybe I don’t love this person.  When that is the case I have to do some serious self reflection on why I don’t love them, and what about myself is keeping me from loving them. 

A lot of the time I will find what keeps me from loving someone is my own personal score board with that person.  My own check list of things I have done for them, and things I feel they have not done for me.  Or perhaps they have a long list of things they have done to me that are hurtful and mean.  My heart, sadly and shamefully, has a whole host of rooms devoted to the shortcomings and failings of the people who mean the most to me.  Each person has their own room where I hang up my memories of pain, wrongs, and betrayals.  I, shamefully, visit these rooms more often than I should.  My upkeep of these rooms demands a very harsh self-examination of how I love; and if I truly love.

I can honestly tell you I never really loved anyone before a handful of years ago.  Since I became a Christian I have began to examine, study, and scrutinize love and my own ways of love.  I have had to clean out more rooms than I care to mention.  It is humiliating to me.  Sometimes I didn’t want to meet the eyes of the people who had several rooms such as these in my heart.  I was completely ashamed to have claimed such a gift as love for them, when I hadn’t put a single toe in the sea of love as of yet.  This was, and continues to be, a very brutal process for me.  It is hard to let go.  It is hard to forgive.  It is hard to realize what is in those rooms doesn’t really matter.  Not really. 

In cleaning out those rooms, boarding them, and dumping all the trash I had treasured inside of them I have found something far more precious.  I have found the ability to love.  I have found the shallow end of the sea of love.  I have begun to wade into the warm, life-giving, and soothing waters of love.  It is so much easier to love people without those rooms.  It is so much easier to be vulnerable, patient, kind, humble, respectful, and unselfish when I do not have these little hide-a-ways to fall back on.  Because who am I to be landlord over these apartments?  Have I not done as much, or worse, in my own misconstrued, misused, and mislabeled use of love?

“does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;” (1 Corinthians 13:6 NKJ)

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” (1 Corinthians 13:6 NIV)

This is a very, very hard practice to love.  This aspect of love means I cannot add more to the rooms I have already built.  This aspect of love means I cannot build new rooms.  This aspect of love means I have to look beyond the faults of the people I love and see the truth of them.  The truth of all of us is found in our hearts and souls.  Sometimes the truth of ourselves comes out in our words and actions, it is written in our deeds and thoughts, but more often than not it isn’t.  I can promise you that few than 10 people, currently, know the truth of me despite all my writings and interactions.  And I can promise you that I know the truth of fewer than 5 people despite everything. 

Most of what I know of the people around me, even the people I love, is their humanness.  Your faults, your failings, your shortcomings, your narrow sightedness, your farsightedness, your conceit, your self-obsession, your silliness, your ignorance ….is what I see, and I promise you that my own is no better and probably a lot worse.  To say otherwise would be a lie.  It is always easier to spot the bad, hold on to the bad, and keep the bad sacred.  Why?  Because then we have all the reason we need to excuse ourselves, all the reason I need to excuse myself, from loving the way love demands we love. 

Love commands me to look past all the sin, all the evil in your heart and soul and my own heart and soul, and beyond everything that is so broken and screwed up with every one of us …to see the truth of you.  You, every last one of you, is beautiful.  Every last of you is a cherished, amazing creation of our God.  My God took time to define you, build you, and give you every last little quirk about you …and those things are beautiful.  Love demands I see this truth in you.  It more than demands it; actually, in loving you I am helpless against hunting down, seeking out, and celebrating all the beauty in the very truth of you.  To look for the obvious flaws and judge you on the obvious flaws, or maybe even on the more intimate and secretive skeletons in the closet, has not a thing to do with love. 

I do not love you despite all these things.  I love you in spite, and because, of all your imperfections.  In loving you I cannot look for anything else but your truth, to do otherwise isn’t about love.  To do otherwise is me trying to find a reason and a way to accept my own lesser standard of love.

“bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:7 NKJ)

“It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:7 NIV)

Love does all these things.  Love enables us to do all these things.  When I find myself unable to do one of these things concerning a person I love I am forced to examine my own love.  It would be easy to put the blame of my own failure to do these things on the person I love.  But as I stated before, Love should not depend upon what another person does for you, to you, or with you.  Loving someone is my choice.  It is my decision to love someone that guides everything else in my life.  Everything else in my life does not guide my decision to love someone. 

If I can’t do one of these things I need to ask myself why.  What is stopping me?  Even now I want to type out the next question of ‘What has this person done to me that I feel this way?’ but I can’t.  I can’t if I am trying to figure out my love for them.  Only I can influence how much, how deeply, and in which ways I love someone.  And I shamefully admit most of those depths and ways aren’t love at all.  The hard question is “What is it about me, what have I done, to keep me from going to that place?”  I am responsible for my own actions, my own limits, and my own emotions.  I am not a passenger in my own soul.  I am the conductor.  I am the vessel.  My path, I have chosen, is the Christian path Christ laid down in love, through love, and for love.  It is that path I fight every day to stay on.  This means I can’t go looking to make everyone around me responsible for my own shortcomings.

“Love never fails.  But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.” (1 Corinthians 13:8 NKJ)

“Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.” (1 Corinthians 13:8 NIV)

My love is imperfect, messy, broken, and downright backwards at times; however, if I truly love someone it will never go away.  One day everything I ever spoke about doing, dreamed about doing, with the ones I loved will be gone.  One day all the words I ever spoke to those I love will no longer be heard.  One day all the bookcases of knowledge I have gathered on the people I love—and they on me—will be gone.  But my love for them will remain.  It will remain in the hearts, minds, and eyes of those who saw it, felt it, and experience it long after I am gone.  It will endure through eternity in heaven with those who stand with me. 

Love has this beautiful way of spread out to unknown reaches.  The ripples of love don’t just touch the original recipients of that love.  When I feel the love of another person it warms me up and brightens my day.  The love of another person encourages me to love others.  It is human nature.  When we experience those moments of love our days are brighter, better, and happier.  We are better people when we love and when we are loved.  The foot prints of your love for me will live on through my life, but they will splash onto the lives of others.  I hope my love can do the same for you.

For any of this to be possible we need to understand love better.  I need to get to know love better.  I need to explore love, seek love, and hunt love down.  Love is truth.  I know this.  I know this because my Bible tells me so.  I also know this because God has written these words, and vastly more intimate words on even the most unbelieving, atheistic, blasphemous of souls.  Therefore for my words to hold any of that truth my mind has to grasp what love is.  My mind has no hope of grasping the truth of love if my heart does not reach for love.  My heart will never know the need or yearning to reach for love if my soul is not stirred by love. 

So how can my lips ever hope to be anything but deceivers if I don’t go beyond just the word?  How can my heart ever burn with the truth if I don’t push it beyond just the emotion?  How can my soul live in love if it is never anything more than a fanciful idea?  It can’t.  Love is something more.  Love is something profound.  Love is something we barely understand.  Love is something I will devote my whole life to seeking.  It is probably the most important quest we all must undertake.  If not, I will only just be paying lip service to you.  More importantly I will only be paying lip service to my Lord, my God, and my Savior.  And that is just unacceptable.