“4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” I Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV)
I have always loved I Corinthians 13:4-7. It is a beautiful verse. We hear it at weddings, sometimes funerals. It is printed on Valentine’s Day cards, Mother’s Day cards and a host of other Hallmark items. It is timeless. Elegant. Classic in every way.
And we are paying no attention to what it tells us…at all.
I listen to KLOVE in my vehicle all day long. Each day they have an encouraging word of the day. A scripture that is repeated throughout the broadcast day. I have frequently picked up on a verse and started to really ponder it. Today it was I Corinthians 13:4-7. It struck me like a lightening bolt.
Right now think of someone you love. You can think of God, your parents, your spouse or even your child. Now read the verse slowly and ask yourself honestly if you are being all those things to the person you say you love.
Ouch, That Hurt
Stings a bit, doesn’t it? Same here. As I really marinated on this scripture today I started thinking of my husband. This verse was used in our wedding. (Cause it’s pretty.) I love my husband. He is a good man. He is supportive, protective and loving. He can also be obstinate, tempermental and frustrating. I thought about this and then I started going line by line through the scripture:
- Love is patient – I consider myself a fairly patient person in most circumstances. However, if I am going to lose my patience…it is usually with my husband first. (Kids are a close second.)
- Love is kind – generally I’m okay here, but I think most of us can improve in some capacity.
- Does not envy – think I am pretty good on this, unless he got off work early and got to relax most of the day while I was sweating and crawling under cars. (OK, envy could use some work too.)
- It Does not boast, it is not proud – again, I am not over the top with boasting or being proud, but I have my moments. Sometimes my husband and I have fallen into a pattern of trying to “one-up” each other. (This was especially true when we were both in corrections.)
Okay, I will spare you and not go through every little item for you. You get the picture. I will jump through to “it keeps no records of wrongs”. It is a little overwhelming to think back on the times we have disagreed and past issues get brought back up. Usually I am the culprit doing the previous-mistakes-flashback-reel. Honestly, I think a lot of us are guilty of keep records of wrongs.
I have told my children, many times, I forgive you but that doesn’t mean I just forget. I am seeing the error of that message. We have to learn from the wrongs we have done or others have done to us, but the grudge is not necessary. How many times do we say we are going to visit family or help someone, only to debase it with “it’s going to be a hot mess” or “they won’t even appreciate it”. Isn’t that keeping a record of wrongs so to speak? We are entering the engagement with our hearts in the wrong place. (Pretty sure God is not too happy with that approach.)
There are all types of challenges on the internet. Facebook is plastered with ice buckets, love challenges and so on. How about a challenge that has an impact beyond fodder for our news feed? The challenge to each of us: Love according to I Corinthians 13:4-7. Do not make it just lip service. Seriously, ladies, if our husbands loved us just like these scriptures said, could we dream of being happier. Likewise, gentlemen, if your wives loved you like this how impactful would that be on your marriage. This goes beyond love between spouses, apply it to you children, family, church family and friends. Think of the impact of loving one another according to I Corinthians 13 on the world issues we face. God is love, so if we are loving according to His word, are we not following one of His most important commandments.
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40
God is Love. Love is the answer. Therefore, God is the answer. The logic is so simple we completely miss it. So try applying I Corinthians 13 to the people you love. The scripture says in John 14:15, if you love me, keep my commandments. Two commandments are the key to everything. (Not my words, God’s words.)
We have done a great job of making that complicated, haven’t we. It’s actually simple so let’s start making changes to love God and others the way they are meant to be loved.