First Corinthians 13: The Movie

Five very practical and biblical things that Hollywood flicks have to say about love.
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Quick question: How would you define the word love? Not an easy one to answer, huh? Actually, we can find a pretty good definition from the Bible in 1 Corinthians 13—love is patient, love is kind and so on. But it can be hard to figure out what that looks like in real life. That's where movies come in. Now, I know you're probably thinking that Hollywood's view of "true love" is nothing but one-night stands, mushy dialogue and old Julia Roberts flicks. In many ways, you're right. But under that superficial layer, some movies also have very practical (and biblical) things to say about the kind of love that goes far beyond romance. Here are five.

Love is humble

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

At the beginning of The Princess Bride, the narrator introduces us to Buttercup and Westley. Westley works for Buttercup's family, which means she gets to order him around.

"Farm Boy, polish my horse's saddle," she tells him. "Farm Boy, fetch me that pitcher." Westley doesn't grovel or bow when she gives him these commands. He doesn't complain, either. He just looks her in the eye and says, "As you wish."

Then the narrator gives us this little tidbit: "One day, she was amazed to discover that when he was saying, 'As you wish,' what he really meant was, 'I love you.'" That may sound like a strange way for someone to express romantic feelings, but it's important to realize that true love goes beyond romance. It includes deeper things—like humility. By humbly serving this woman, Westley was putting love into action. Inconceivable!

By the way, don't confuse being humble with being a pushover. When the Bible talks about humility, or meekness, it's referring to "strength under control." Think of a sleek, muscular horse who submits all of his power and speed to the will of his rider. That's humility, and that's an important piece of true love.

Love wants what's best for others

"It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered" (1 Corinthians 13:5, NIV).

In John 15:13, Jesus says, "The greatest way to show love for friends is to die for them" (CEV). Now, I don't know about you, but I don't get a lot of opportunities to die for people. But that doesn't mean you can't show the kind of love Jesus is talking about.

Instead, this simply means to die to yourself for them—to put their needs in front of yours. It means making a decision not to be self-seeking.

In Enchanted, for example, Prince Edward tracks his bride-to-be, Giselle, across two worlds, only to see her poisoned by his wicked stepmother. He only knows one way to save her: with true love's first kiss. After all, the movie says it's "the most powerful thing in the world." But it doesn't work for Edward.

That's when Prince Edward looks over at Robert, a kind and handsome man who cared for Giselle until the prince arrived to rescue her. In that instant, Edward understands that Robert is Giselle's true love—not him. Without any hesitation, he moves aside and begs Robert to come and kiss Giselle. That's sacrifice, right? He gives up his chance at romance and happiness to ensure the life and happiness of the woman he loves.

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