"Love is patient, love is kind; love does not envy; love does not boast, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, is not selfish, is not easily angered, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in sin, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails..." 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Since Valentine's Day is coming up and it is suppose to be a day all about love, I thought I would study 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
In the world today love is defined in many ways. But in the Bible it says in 1 John 4:8b that "...God is love." Therefore if God is love then He has the overall authority to say what love is! We all may have our own definition of what we think love is, but in the end it is God Who has the right definition. We must look to His Word, the Bible, to find it.
The first definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4 is "Love is patient...". In the dictionary the definition of patient is: 1. capable of bearing affliction calmly 2. understanding: tolerant 3. persevering: constant 4. capable of bearing delay
The definition of patience is: capacity of calm endurance or long-suffering
As John MacArthur says, "In these verses... love is action, not abstraction." Love isn't just a warm feeling we feel. We must choose to show love to those around us. How? The first thing mentioned, of course, is through patience or some would say long-suffering. When we are hurt or wronged by someone we are to be patient. We are to love our enemies. We are not to lash out at them in return, but we are to be long-suffering. 1Peter 3:9 says, "Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing...".
This has been something that I am trying to cultivate in my life. When I am feel like I have been insulted, I want to give that person a piece of my mind. But God has told me that I am suppose to be patient and not return evil for evil. Being married has definitely been a good place for me to exercise holding my tongue and having patience. There are times when I feel like my husband has done or said something rude and I just want to tell him what I think about it. And most times I do. But I have been praying for the Lord to change my heart and He has been. I am no where near being perfect in this area, but it brings so much encouragement to see the Lord working in my heart and even my husband sees it!
So by this definition of love we can see that we are supposed to love those who may not love us. We are to love those who insult us and abuse us. We can see this example shown very clearly for us by Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:22-23, "'He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth.' When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly." He was beaten, tortured and crucified and never did He once return evil for evil or try and fight back. In fact He prayed for His tormentors that they might be forgiven. So when someone treats us wrong we should pray for them like Jesus did.
Let's show true love to those around us by being patient and long-suffering no matter how they might treat us. "We act like [God] when we are patient with those around us." -Elizabeth George
"If God had been a man, He would have wiped out this world long ago, but He has that patience which bears with all of our sinning and will not cast us off. [Therefore] in our dealings with our fellow men we must reproduce this loving, forbearing, forgiving, patient attitude of God." - William Barclay "The Letters to the Galatians and Ephesians"