Love is patient,
love is kind.
It does not envy,
it does not boast,
it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others,
it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil
but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects,
Love never fails.
(1 Corinthians 13: 4-8)
Along with Psalm 23, 1 Corinthians 13 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible because it’s a clear guide as to who God is and who we should be. Before I moved, I used to have it pasted on my door so that every time I left my room, I’d be reminded of the person I’m called to be and it has helped me grow in so many ways. I’ve applied it to many different relationships and wanted to expand on how it can be applied to each.
When the word “love” is mentioned, a lot of the time our minds go to love of the romantic nature. Though this verse covers so much more than just romance, I still wanted to touch on it.
As I’ve grown spiritually and simply in age, I have contemplated to what I would measure a possible partner up against. Simply liking children and being spontaneous wasn’t enough, yet I didn’t want to build a list of pitiful expectations that served me more than God, and so I turned to this chapter. I started to view men with the questions, “Is he patient? Is he kind?” etc. And not just to me, but to everyone he surrounded himself with. And quite honestly, that has done more for me than the list of expectations that the world has given us to use.
Yet, even greater than this, I’ve looked at this verse to see what type of person I need to become to better serve any relationship of mine. Am I growing in such a way that I’m becoming patient, kind, humble, selfless, and so forth?
I do want to say, though, that no person is going to be perfect and check off every single one of the items in this list. We’re imperfect humans and are going to struggle in some areas of life. However, I’ve witnessed relationships where one (or both) of the individuals does not possess the qualities from this verse and have not showed any signs of improvement throughout the course of the relationship and this has caused serious pain and strain.
With that said, don’t expect perfection but also be careful to see how and if this person strives to grow.
An excuse that I think most of us are guilty of, including myself, is “It’s okay, they’re family.” Because it’s my mom, I can brush her off. Because it’s my sister, I can snap at her and say cruel words. Because it’s my child, I can yell at them for interrupting me.
I have to then stop and remind myself that: people are people are people are people.
Essentially, we’re all humans. We all have emotion. We are all imperfect. We all make mistakes. We’re all capable of being hurt.
No matter who a person is, they don’t deserve to be treated badly. And thus, I think it’s important that this verse be applied to familial relationships, as well. Just because you’ve grown up with them or have to constantly put up with them, doesn’t change how they should be loved.
Look at the relationships you have with your family members and compare them with 1 Corinthians 13 to see what areas you need to better yourself in.
Friendships and strangers:
We live in a world filled with hatred, anger, pain, and suffering, and one of the most effective ways to make our way through it is by loving people. All people.
Especially with what happened in Charlottesville recently, it’s more impertinent than ever to exemplify this verse in our lives and love people so loud it’s deafening.
And to our friends, especially unbelievers, that they’d feel loved every time they interact with us or even saw something we posted online.
I think it’s important that we are reflections of who God is so that people are able to see Him through us. When they interact with us or simply watch us from a distance, how amazing would it be if they could know that we are Christians just by how we act!
Like I said, I love this verse because of how clearly it states the types of people we should be and the attributes we should strive to have. I grew to love it even more when one of my close friends pointed out that when you replace “love” with “God” it stays just as true and impactful: “God is patient, God is kind. He does not envy, He does not boast, He is not proud. He does not dishonor others, He is not self-seeking, He is not easily angered, He keeps no record of wrongs. God does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. He always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. God never fails.”
How phenomenal is that?! It gives the phrase, “God is love” a whole new meaning, doesn’t it?
To wrap it up, my challenge to you this week is to list all of the “love is” attributes on a piece of paper and then write down how you can improve in each area. If you want to do separate ones for different relationships, go for it! The main point is to see how you can love people as best as you can!
Meghan and I will be taking turns every Friday, talking about Love Life & Literature! Keep an eye out for her blog post at www.northernbellemeg.com next Friday! Until then, read her post from last week: Owning Your Heart
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