“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.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-5
Love, nature of God, who is the epitome of Love. Not the ‘love’ of lovers, friendship, or parental ‘love’. It’s the agape love of God. We must show love in action, not discuss it as grand concepts. Jesus illustrated love to His disciples and the world by giving His life for us.
Patience and kindness are fruits of the Spirit and God’s attitude to us.
Patient (long suffering): Lord is patient and doesn’t wish that anyone perish but come to repentance. We must be patient in hurt or annoyance. Think: Do you take revenge when you have an opportunity, or show mercy?
Kind: Jesus was kind to all no matter what. Because we have God’s love, we must perform simple acts of kindness.
Think: Are we callous or kind in our behavior?
Christians at Corinth behaved badly; they were jealous of each other’s spiritual gifts etc. Paul showed them we are all God’s servants and work together to make His kingdom grow. He taught them to behave in love.
Don’t envy (be jealous): Envy damages and accomplishes only hurt, so love stays away from envy. We must not begrudge someone who is promoted or blessed. Think: Are you willing to have others preferred over you?
Don’t boast: In Corinth, some boasted of their wisdom and knowledge. None can boast and love at the same time; boasting is arrogant, self-focused while loving is all about others and focusing on their needs. Love works anonymously. It does not need limelight. Think: do you think of others or self?
Don’t be proud: Love gives because it loves to give, not for the praise it can have from giving. Parading love is pride looking for glory under the guise of love; boasting is rooted in pride. Think: Do you concentrate on your importance, or show humility through love?
Don’t behave badly: People at Corinth did not respect others. They were greedy and did not think about other people’s feelings. Think: how do you behave with others?
Don’t look for own interests: Paul said that we should not use freedom for our own benefit. Jesus was an others-centered person not a self-centered person. Think: Is ‘I” the main focus of my life?
Don’t get provoked: Are you able to keep calm when others are angry and not answer insults with anger? Anger is not a sin but the actions in anger can cause us to sin. Think: do you get riled up easily and react in that mood?
Don’t keep record of hurts: God waits for us to turn to Him to forgive us and He does not keep an account of our sins.
Think: do you put away hurts of the past or cling to them?
Don’t take pleasure in evil: Newspapers, television and radio often encourage interest in other’s sins and failures. We must not find fault in other people, talk about others’ difficulties, or judge other people. Use love to cover over the sins.
Think: are you a gossip or happy when someone succeeds?
Love is not comfortable in sin. It wants what is best for others. We do not deserve love and we can never earn it. So, when we know God’s love, we should show that same to other people. Only because we trust in God’s love for us and promise – to give us ‘hope and a future’ – that we live with courage in every circumstance.