1 Corinthians 13:5
5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. (NIV)
There is an attack on love. Not only are we seeing the love of the world wax cold, but an attack has been launched against the very concept. Today’s culture has defined love as how others should act toward us in order that we might feel good all the time. This is a perversion of the concept of love. Because God is love, it is a perversion of God’s character.
The passage today comes from what we call the ‘love chapter’ of the Bible. It defines love. The original word for love in this passage is translated as ‘charity.’ True love is given in charity. True love is given without expectation of return. Love is not patient as long as the other is patient. True love is patient regardless of how the other person responds.
To love like this, the behavior of the other person is irrelevant. And we do not withhold our loving behavior because they have. We don’t concern ourselves with whether or not they are loving to us. This concern turns charity into a transactional love given only as it is received. But this is not true love.
When we get outside of true love, we will dishonor others. We will seek to protect ourselves and expect others to cater to our needs as a higher priority than protecting them and supplying their needs. We don’t hold on to things, but we let them go even if they don’t apologize.
Because true love has no expectation of others’ behavior, it is not easily angered. It is not easily offended. The Bible calls us to have the same attitude as Christ who when being crucified simply said, “Father, forgive them.” He was not offended because of how they were treating Him. He didn’t remind them of all He had done for them to make them feel guilty for what they were now doing to Him. This is true love.
True love is not easy. We are born in love deformed. Our natural state is selfishness, self-protection, and self-exaltation. To rid ourselves of the deformed love born into us, we must confess it wholly without excuse. When we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive and to cleanse us. To give ourselves any excuse or to be offended when others don’t overlook our faults obliterates any confession we may give.
Prayer: Lord, search my heart and show me my faults. Let me accept them without excuse that You might cleanse them from me. Amen.