Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | February 15, 2009

Love Notes (Part 2)

In 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, we see the spectrum of love as it passes through the Apostle Paul’s inspired heart. Using a series of 15 verbs, Paul gives us a glimpse into the character and conduct of love.

Love is patient | Love is longsuffering — it takes a long time before fuming and breaking into flames. Love does not have a quick temper nor is it subject to outbursts of anger. The word “patient” is in the present tense in the Greek text, emphasizing that patience should be a continual and habitual state or action.

Love is kind | The word “kind” refers to one who renders gracious service to others. Love is useful and gracious and gentle in its behavior. It looks for ways to be constructive, is able to recognize needs, and contributes to the lives of others. Augustine wrote: “What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.”

Love is not jealous | This is the first of several references to love in terms of what it is not. Paul used these negative references to point out to the Corinthian believers that love did not manifest the kind of outlook on life that they were demonstrating toward one another. The word “jealous” means to boil with envy. It refers to a possessive and exclusive control that will not allow another to find fulfillment in life.

Love does not brag | Love does not play the braggart. Love doesn’t seek to make an impression or to create an image for personal gain. Ostentation, showiness, and pretension is the idea here.

Love is not arrogant | The word “arrogant” means to puff one’s self out like a pair of bellows. Love is not self-centered nor does it puff itself up with ideas about its own importance.

Love does not act unbecomingly | Love is not indecent. It doesn’t behave in a shameful manner. Instead, it is tactful and does nothing that would raise a blush. It has good manners. It has respect for others, exercises discretion, and knows what is proper and when.

Love does not seek its own | Love does not pursue selfish advantage. It has as its primary concern the needs of others. This is the kind of love Jesus referred to in John 15:13. Paul wrote about this aspect of love in Philippians 2:3-4.

Love is not provoked | The word “provoked” refers to irritation or sharpness of spirit. It means to irritate or promote to anger. Love is not touchy, hypersensitive, or easily hurt. It doesn’t take things too personally.

Love does not take into account a wrong suffered | To “take into account” means to count up or to make an entry into a ledger. It means to credit to someone’s account. Love does not register evil or wrongdoing. Love keeps no record of wrongs, stores up no resentment, bears no malice, and doesn’t review wrongs which have been forgiven. It doesn’t dwell on past evil or wrong. Instead, it destroys evidence of past mistakes when possible.

Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth | Love does not gloat over the wickedness of other people. It doesn’t compare itself with others for self-justification or use other people’s sins and shortcomings to excuse or justify personal weaknesses. It doesn’t say, “Everybody’s doing it!”

Love bears all things | Love keeps going in the face of everything that threatens to undo it. It never gives up.

Love believes all things | This is not to say that love is gullible, but rather that it has a trustful attitude toward others. It is willing to give others the benefit of the doubt. Love is always eager to believe the best. It believes in others and affirms their worth.

Love hopes all things | Love is hopeful because it is grounded in God and because Jesus, who is the manifestation of God’s love, gives meaning to hope. Love sees the bright side of things. When it is disappointed, it does not despair, but keeps on hoping and waiting (like the father of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32).

Love endures all things | Love perseveres. It is able to survive under hard and unfavorable circumstances. It possesses sturdy patience. It can endure the night because it is confident of the morning. It is able to outlast anything, endure all obstacles, and even love in the face of unreturned love.

Love never fails | Love never ends. It is eternal. It will never come to an end because it is grounded in God, and God is love. Love will last as long as God lasts — forever. Paul added that prophecy, tongues, and knowledge — all of which were very important to the Corinthians and all of which had caused their share of dissension — will be done away with. These are things that will not be necessary in the presence of God.

In summary…

• Love is indispensable — ministry, miracles, and martyrdom without love are empty and void of meaning.

• Love is invincible — when practiced, love can do more to change the world than anything else.

• Love is immortal — love will last on into eternity and, because of its permanence, must be our priority.


Responses

  1. Great definitions of loves, you had discuses here with 1 Corinthians. I much remember & share to my people from here!!!

    Thanks,
    Mortuza
    Bangladesh


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