I want to share something that’s been on my heart for a while. It’s been tearing at me because several people close to me are struggling and not sure what to do. Well, here’s my answer for you, and I hope you listen with an open heart.
When we think of love, we immediately imagine hearts, fireworks, and being “in love” with someone and this is exactly why there are so many broken couples today. People get into a relationship looking for that warm fuzzy feeling, but when that feeling goes away, they mistake it for the idea that they must not love that person anymore. This then leads to separation and brokenness. But what people don’t understand, and don’t teach younger generations, is that those warm feelings don’t determine your level of love. They also don’t demonstrate what real love actually is. The Bible clearly spells it out starting in 1 Corinthians 13:4. Now, before I break it down, I want you to really think about each piece. Because it’s been in so many weddings and there has been so many sermons on it, people have grown accustom to hearing the usual “love is patient” blah blah blah. But even I never let it really sink in until someone close to me challenged me to take it to another level.
1 Corinthians 13: –
4. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It seems like a pretty simple thing to do. Be patient: check. Be kind: check. But he’s talking about doing this in EVERY situation and with EVERY person. In another verse in the bible, he says to love your neighbor as yourself. He didn’t mean just your physical neighbor who lives in the house next to you. He was talking about any and everyone around you. Yes, that means even the crook who took your wallet, the guy you cut you off in traffic, the person who yelled at you for getting their order wrong. So, with knowing that these “love commandments” apply to everyone, let’s continue.
Love is patient. Patience does not come easily, and to apply it with someone you simply don’t like is an even harder feat. You mean we have to be patient when the woman at the store counter snaps at you for not having correct change? yes. What about when your neighbor backs into your car? yes, even then. It’s not easy to keep yourself from getting aggravated when the law office is taking forever to find who stole your purse, but you know what, it applies here too.
Love is kind. This means you have to put on a happy face and help out that elderly man who just insulted you for not being “from back in his day”. Kindness can go a long way, and even when you don’t know it, a simple act of kindness, like helping someone load groceries, can make a huge difference in the way that persons life plays out from that moment on.
Love does not envy. Now, this one gets easier as we get older, simply because we can afford more. But it does not only apply to money, even though that’s usually the context that it is brought up in. Now, there’s nothing wrong with wanting something that someone else has. What we’re talking about here is being jealous and getting angry that they got it instead of you. We should be happy that they were able to posses that good thing, whether it be a new car, or a promotion that we were shooting for as well.
Love does not boast. Don’t go around talking about all the good things that are happening to you. Even though you may be talking about it in the sense of “Oh I’m so blessed because…”. There’s a fine line between giving God credit for something, and using that as an excuse to gloat about how you have all these good things happening to you. It’s not a bad thing for you to have blessings and opportunities, just be careful about how you talk about them.
Love is not proud. This is a hard one for me to deal with, and it always has been. It’s not talking about how you shouldn’t be proud of your children or of an accomplishment. It’s talking about pride as in the lack of humility. We should not be so proud that we can’t own up to our downfalls and mistakes. We need to humble ourselves and admit when we are wrong.
5. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not dishonor others. This means talking about how “silly” your husband is when he doesn’t take out the trash when he’s “supposed” to. It means not talking about the downfalls of others. None of us are perfect, and we just look foolish going around talking about the ignorance of others. This even means the current President. I know, you all hate the guy, but God still loves him, and we should too. Even if we don’t agree with what he’s doing, we still need to recognize that he is a person and deserves to be respected and honored just like the rest of us.
Love is not self – seeking. This one is tricky to understand if it’s not explained. Self – seeking means doing and saying things to make yourself seem better than someone else. I have seen a lot of this lately, and unfortunately, the person doing it doesn’t realize that’s what is coming out. For example; making jokes about a friend, or even just an acquaintance, to make others around you laugh. What you’re doing is making yourself “look” better at the expense of someone else.
Love is not easily angered. This is probably one of the most overlooked and overused parts of this verse. I say overused because we tend to do it a lot. Sometimes, we get angry without even knowing that we’re angry. Like yelling at the guy in front of you when he cuts you off. Think about this for a second. You were in your car, singing along to your tunes, and in a split second, someone cuts in front of you. Without even thinking, you start yelling about how crazy he is and asking if he was even paying attention. You didn’t even think twice about getting mad, heck you probably didn’t even KNOW you were getting mad! That’s how easy it is to get angry! Yet, it clearly says we should not let ourselves get easily angered. But notice, it does not say to never get angry… Just food for thought.
Love keeps no record of wrongs. Now we’re getting into the part I was waiting for. This is such an important lesson to practice, yet we still do it. This means that when your spouse cheats on you, you forget it right then and there. Yeah sure, they committed the unforgivable “relationship sin”. But God is telling you to let it go and act as if it never happened! That’s right, you are supposed to COMPLETELY let it go! Now, I know you want to start justifying it and making up excuses for why you should be mad about it. You want to talk about how you should be more respected and how he should have treated you better. But guess what, you don’t get to. You are told to forgive and forget. “keep no record of wrongs”, which means any bad thing that anyone ever did to you, you are supposed to let it go and continue to love them. No, it’s not easy at ALL, but God never said loving someone was going to be easy. This also means that you aren’t allowed to bring up crap from the past when you get in an argument with someone.
6. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
Here, it’s not talking about evil as in witchcraft and sorcery, it’s talking about anything negative that happens. Don’t be happy that your mean, angry boss lost his job, even if it means that you will be in a better situation. Sometimes, good situations for you mean bad situations for someone else. Now, that’s not always in your control, but just keep that in mind. It says “does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.”. I think that what it’s referring to is that we should not be happy when something bad happens to someone, but be glad that no stone is left unturned. For example, your boss gets fired for stealing money. You shouldn’t be glad that he’s fired, but instead be glad that you now know who was stealing the money and you can now fix the problem.
There’s more to the chapter, but I want to stop here and go back to verse 5. Love keeps no record of wrongs. I want you all to take this and really work on applying it to your lives. I know too many people who are going through divorces and hardships with their spouse right now, and most of it is because there is a lack of forgiveness. I want to say that you do not get to choose which act is worthy of forgiveness. We are supposed to forgive every time and forget about any wrongdoing that has been done to us. Yes it is hard to do and I’m not saying that it will happen right away, but you need to deal with yourselves instead of trying to get that other person to “treat you better”. You are no better than them and they deserve to be loved. I’m not saying that you have to stay with a cheating, abusive, manipulating person, but I am saying that you have to forgive them for anything they have ever done to you.
I hope I haven’t offended anyone by this post. I just see a lot of hurt in people close to me, and through their hurt, they are doing more damage to their own situation.