I’m the guy who missed the football in gym class and ended up on his butt. I’m the one whose kite always got stuck in the tree. I’m the one who walked to bat and the whole out field moved in. Heck, I even played Charlie Brown in our eighth grade school musical.
Now Charlie couldn’t kick a football. He couldn’t throw a baseball. He couldn’t fly a kite. He never could talk to the little red-headed girl. His dog belittled him and Lucy Vanpelt called him a “block head”.
Yet there is one quality, at least, which the Brown boy had in spades. He never gave up. Every year he walked to the mound with a renewed determination to win the pennant. Every year at camp he promised himself “this year I am going to talk to that red-headed beauty”. Every year he trusted Lucy to hold the ball again. He charged ahead with abandon believing this time would be different.
The apostle tells us, ” Love ‘always perseveres.'” I Cor. 13:7 NIV
The word is hypomenō- 1) to remain
a) to tarry behind
2) to remain i.e. abide, not recede or flee
a) to preserve: under misfortunes and trials to hold fast to one’s faith in Christ
b) to endure, bear bravely and calmly: ill treatments
Love in us is that thing which refuses to give up or give in. It won’t recede even when it has to back off. It is the grandma who loves the grandson in jail and keeps sending him Scripture letters. It’s the parent who keeps praying for the salvation of the prodigal even after the child has told him “I don’t want to hear it anymore!”.
Love like this almost always looks like foolishness to those on the outside.
“Just give up.” the voices of the crowd say.
“It’s too much for you. You’re going to make yourself sick with this thing.” the masses intone.
If you have a Lucy Vanpelt in your life then perseverance has probably earned you the epithet, “idiot” or “blockhead”.
Now I’m not talking about boundariless co-dependence. I am talking about faithful perseverance. While on the outside the two things may look a little alike the roots are as different as ginger and strawberry.
Co-dependence like most “love look-alikes” is based in self. In a co-dependent relationship the enabler holds on because of what letting go says about her.
Perseverance is other centered. I persevere in the relationship not because of what I will ever get but in hopes of benefitting the other person. When such benefit becomes my sole motivation then I can persevere without ever worrying about earning something back on my investment.
Now if perseverance is the quality of a block-head, then I say “Let us Embrace our inner block-heads. For to such belongs the Kingdom of God!”