Love… how can we try to understand it? It’s not always easy to say what love is, but we tend to know how it feels. If you were blindfolded and given a bucket of items, you could describe what you are feeling but may not be able to fully identify each item. This is kind of like love.
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, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a, NIV
If love is patient, then love is not demanding. I can remember praying so hard for years about a certain situation and just felt like giving up. God answered my prayer on His own time and in the meantime gave me a journey I needed to experience. We have to wait for things we’ve prayed for or seem to think we deserve right now.
If love is kind, then love is not hurtful. Have you ever thought you loved your neighbor and then they parked in your grass and messed it up? Maybe you left them a note and said some pretty mean things. Maybe later you realized they had an emergency and parked quickly to get inside. Part of love being kind and love being sacrificial means that the kindness of love should not be directed back towards ourselves, but to our neighbor. Does your neighbor see the kindness of love that comes from Jesus through you?
Love does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. This means love shows humility. Did your child love his classmate who only sold 2 items for his fundraiser while he was the top seller in his class? Was he humble when he attended the pizza party and the other students stayed behind with the teacher? Or when he brought his $50 game card prize, did he show it off and run it in his friend’s face? Maybe his friend doesn’t have parents to drive him around and his 2 items were sold to 2 of teachers who knew his situation. We don’t know everyone’s situation, but agape love levels the playing field.
How about love keeps no record of wrongs? Do you have someone dear in your life who keeps score of your wrongs and uses them against you? Do you keep record of wrongs? Are you holding grudges against your friends, spouse, boss, or other co-workers? How do you feel when someone who is supposed to love you keeps tally marks for your wrongs? Probably not very loved.
Love rejoices with the truth, so therefore it grumbles with lies. When you are truthful in all areas of your life it radiates love. We know what this kind of love feels like, but it’s hard to do it.
Love never fails. Recently, in All Stars we observed if you crack a glow stick and turn off the lights, the glow stick can light up a whole room. But the next day this same stick no longer glows. It can’t last forever; it fails. But love never fails. God showed us the most absolute, perfect love when He sent His son Jesus to pay for our sin, to die in our place, and to give us clean hearts even when we didn’t deserve it.
Jesus wants us to love like He does. He wants us to love all people whether they are easy to love or hard to love. He wants us to love people not just because we like them but because they are people.
How will you show your child, spouse, friend, co-worker or _________ you love them just because Jesus loves them? Could you go check on your neighbor when you know something is not quite right? Can you offer to help your child’s classmate with the next fundraiser? Can you love and forgive the person who is keeping a record of your wrongs? Through the Holy Spirit, we can love in all situations.
Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. –
1 Corinthians 13:13
Starting with love, everything else will fall in to place. We are bankrupt without love.