1 Corinthians 13:4
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
What is this thing called love, the kind of love that we are told to have from scripture; the kind of love that does not seek its own? What does it look like in practical everyday terms?
As I and others have said in the past love is an action word, it requires something on our part. Love with legs on it. Love that is patient does not get easily angered or offended by someone who just doesn’t have it together. The kind of love that realizes that some people need a little extra in life; maybe extra time to grow in grace and wisdom, or maybe a co-worker who doesn’t treat you right, or a family member that likes to create arguments from nothing. What if these people push all your buttons at once, does scripture give us permission to lose it on them, to treat them as they are treating us? No, it says that love is kind. Kind love goes the extra mile, kind love turns the other cheek even while the one is still burning, kind love does not hold a wrong against someone.
I will agree there are many times when it is hard to be patient and kind, some people are hard to like, let alone love. But God says we are to be patient and to be kind, so we must put forth the effort. Remember he has loved us and been patient with us and is still doing it as we are molded and shaped and grown. We too have had unloveable days and unloveable ways, or at least I have, maybe I am the only one.
Next, we see that love does not envy. What does it mean to envy? Webster says this: Envy denotes a longing to possess something awarded to or achieved by another: to feel envy when a friend inherits a fortune. Jealousy, on the other hand, denotes a feeling of resentment that another has gained something that one more rightfully deserves.
Do you find yourself wanting what others have, being jealous of what they possess, do you make comparisons and get angry if you feel slighted or cheated. Can you freely give praise and accolades to others with a kind, loving heart?
What about boasting and being proud. Maybe instead of feeling cheated you are on the other end always bragging, patting your own back. Obviously, God dislikes proudness enough that he put it in scripture. We are to love like Jesus loves. We are to love others like we long to be loved, and usually when we want to receive love, we want it to come with full affection and all the good things that it can. All the warm fuzzies, complete. We do not want to feel left out or unworthy, so why would we do those things to someone else?
If we could never love like Jesus, we would not have been told to love that way. We can when we are full of God and desire to pour him into others, and we die to self and selfish ways. When was the last time you put legs on your love? Did it cost you anything? God’s love cost him everything, think about it.
I may never completely love like Jesus did, but I am certainly going to try! Remember we all have failings and times when we are unloveable, at least to the world, but even on those days we are loved by our Lord and Savior, he never gives up on us.