1 Corinthians 13:4-7
New International Version (NIV)
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.
It can be a noun, as in
1. a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
2. a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, asfor a parent, child, or friend.
3. sexual passion or desire.
4. a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person;sweetheart.
And it can be a verb
5. to have love or affection for: All her pupils love her.
6. to have a profoundly tender, passionate affection for (another person).
7. to have a strong liking for; take great pleasure in: to love music.
8. to need or require; benefit greatly from: Plants love sunlight.
9. to embrace and kiss (someone), as a lover.
10.to have love or affection for another person; be in love.
But the worldly "love" of today doesn’t take into account the Biblical standards for LOVE. Infidelity and divorce rates are at an all time high, even among Christians...or those who believe themselves to be. The world has subscribed to the Nike philosophy "Just do it".
"If it feels good, do it"
"What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas"
"Look out for number one"
And so forth and so on, are the mantras of today. To the world it's all about hedonism and taking care of yourself first instead of taking care of the one you chose to cleave to.
It's not easy these days in the hustle and bustle of the RUSH and technology laden crowd to be PATIENT with people. Our expectations have been sorely distorted. Technology is supposed to make our lives "easier", but in reality, it has only made our lives busier with less time and attention for the relationships that are supposed to matter.
In losing that patience for those we love, for paying attention to other things instead of our relationships, we tend to be less KIND. Our words can be harsher instead of soft and gracious when we are frustrated by our loved ones actions. We can say cutting words when we are upset instead of gently explaining why we are having a tough day. We need to check our words and our actions when we are having a bad day and season them with grace instead of griping.
When we love someone we are not to be ENVIOUS, meaning, we are not to be jealous. If you have a relationship grounded in God and in trust, there is no reason to be jealous. In past relationships, I admit, we were not grounded in God and therefore there was not complete trust and over time the relationships deteriorated due to the breaking of that bond between us. Thankfully, I have a man in my life who believes that a cord of three strands is not easily broken and knows that doing things GOD'S way will only make our relationship stronger and bring God's blessings to it.
I often tease my boyfriend that I don't get dressed up to go out for him because he thinks I look better without the makeup and the fancy hair, I get dressed up to show the other women out there that they don't stand a chance with my man. Let's be honest. There are women out there who see a man they're interested in and will go after them, no matter what...unless they see that the relationship is strong and not going to be worth their time. I call the makeup and hair my "war paint", but in reality, the loving glances, affection and laughter between my boyfriend and I do more to keep those wolves at bay than anything else.
The envy and jealousy goes both ways though. Don't seek to make your significant other jealous of other people. It only brings strife and harm to the relationship in the end and creates the opposite effect of what you were looking for.
Hand in hand with the envy and jealousy is the BOASTing and PRIDE. One of the most famous sayings is "pride goeth before a fall". For the same reason you don't seek to make your loved one jealous, you don't boast to others about the perfect relationship you have and give all the details. People will want what you have and will try and take it from you. Create within that relationship a safe haven where you find comfort and peace after a tough, wearying day. A place where they will feel safe in knowing that what the two of you have is sacred and isn't broadcast for the world to hear.
When you love someone you do not DISHONOR them by airing their faults or by talking down about them or to them. You do not flirt with others, doesn't matter if your loved one is there or not. That is going outside the bounds of a Godly relationship and sows seeds of disharmony and allows the third party to think that they just might have a chance with you, even if they don't. It creates that "what if" scenario..."man, I'm having such a great time with so-and-so...what if I were single?" That is huge, to me anyway, in the area of dishonoring your partner and your relationship.
These days, we tend to think of ourselves first instead of putting others in front of us. We've conditioned ourself to "look out for number one" and be SELF-SEEKING. "What can YOU do for ME" becomes the mindset instead of "What can I do for YOU". In work and at home that is my theme...what can I do for YOU?...and I do it without regard for them "doing" in return for me. After all, that is not what love is about. Love is about putting the other person first. The Bible says, "do unto others as you would have them do unto you". Trust me, it makes things so much easier in the give and take of a relationship.
Love does not get ANGRY at the slightest misstep or error. Yes, people will say or do things in error, many times unintentionally, without thinking. Grace...always grace. There have been times where my boyfriend has said some things that I was kind of hurt or offended by, but, being that I am the first real relationship he's had in about ten years, I realized that he was speaking out of inexperience. That allowed me to put the brakes on my tongue and gently explain my view of the situation, which, in turn, defered what would have been an inevitable fight. All because I would have taken affront in error to something that was said out of lack of understanding.
Alongside the anger is the issue of KEEPING A RECORD OF WRONGS. If it happened in the past and has been apologized for...leave it in the past. How simple is that? So many friends that I have have told me that their spouses or significant others have fought dirty by bringing up their past. Some have been things that they did even before they met their loved one or things that they did when they first started dating their loved one, etc., things that are not fair bringing up in the present because they have changed the and are no longer that person. God fogives us our transgressions as far as the East is from the West, who are we to do less for those who have asked our forgiveness and have changed? It's dirty pool to bring up the past when the past is...the past.
Love should not DELIGHT IN EVIL, it shouldn't want to do the wrong things. If you love someone you are TRUTHful and honest with them. You want the best for them. You want them to be happy. You want the relationship to last forever. Well, let me tell you, that doesn't happen overnight. Anything worth having is worth working hard for. Right? Love will not be smooth sailing. You will not always be in love with your significant other or your spouse. Chuck Swindoll has a brilliant quote about marriage. A successful marriage involves falling in love many times...but always with the same person.
There WILL be hard times.
There WILL be hurts.
There WILL be times when you just want to throw in the towel and walk away because y'all just can't see eye to eye.
Yes, to all that and more...BUT...
Love ALWAYS PROTECTS...hold your vows, your relationship as sacred. Protect it from outside influences. Protect it from the wolves trying to tear it apart. Protect it from your own angers and misunderstandings.
Love ALWAYS TRUSTS...believe the best about your partner. Trust that their actions are truthful and honest. Trust in God's plan for your relationship and especially TRUST in GOD, that He is faithful and true. Remember, a cord of THREE strands is not easily broken. Keep God at the center of your relationship and you will weather the storms of life much, much better.
Love ALWAYS HOPES...instead of losing that hope when things don't look so good, keep your faith that God knows what He's doing. “Love comes to those who still hope even though they've been disappointed, to those who still believe even though they've been betrayed, to those who still love even though they've been hurt before.” To still have hope means that we haven't given up through the trenches and valleys and will be rewarded with the views from the peaks.
Love ALWAYS PERSEVERES...To quote Winston Churchill...Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, give up! Love goes the extra mile...love gives you the strength to endure what you never thought you could. Love allows you to see your significant other through God's eyes and not through the weary, materialistic, world-viewed eyes that has been shoved in our direction and fed to us day in and day out.
On this Valentine's Day, I pray that you get to see your loved ones through God's eyes and that you see that same vision reflected in their eyes back to you.
The greatest of these is LOVE...
To view other perspectives on this In Other Words quote, please visit our hostess this week Heart Choices.