“Love Is …” Series
This is a series that sprang out of something I heard at a wedding. Thanks, Jeromy!
Lori is Patient, Lori is …
Over the weekend I went to a wedding. My pastor performed the wedding ceremony and one of the things he talked about was supernatural love. Our natural, human love might not get us through in marriage, but if we have God’s supernatural love growing in us, we can keep our vows and build warm, intimate marriages that reflect His love.
One thing my pastor did was to quote 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and replace the word “love” with the names of the bride and groom. I’ll be honest, it was a bit awkward, because we all knew that in their humanity they weren’t always patient, kind, etc. After wincing a couple of times, though, I did the same for myself.
Lori is patient and kind; Lori does not envy or boast; she is not arrogant or rude. She does not insist on her own way; she is not irritable or resentful; she does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Lori bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV (modified from “love/it” to “Lori/she”)
Awkward. Yup. But it also feels fresh and clean, and it helps me focus in the direction I want to go.
Love is patient and kind.
Patient: bearing provocation, annoyance, misfortune, delay, hardship, pain, etc., with fortitude and calm and without complaint, anger, or the like.
Kind: of a good or benevolent nature or disposition; considerate or helpful
These definitions pretty much mean we a need calm, graceful and (I’ve just got to say it) generous response to life.
Think of the most chaotic or difficult moments of your day. How do you interject patience and kindness into those moments? A respectful tone of voice, a helping hand, not taking something personally, staying calm when your toddlers tosses his dinner plate …
What does patience and kindness look like for you?
For me it means not getting ticked when I have to wait for my husband. It means not feeling resentful when someone tries to make their crisis my crisis (I can say “yes” or “no” in a kind, respectful tone of voice). It means being aware of the needs around me and making time to love of folks and be helpful. It means knowing that God’s timing is always best and that some of the crankiest folks are most in need of a kind word.
Image credit © Tatiana Morozova | Dreamstime.com
Know Your Worth
Love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV
Envy: a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another’s advantages, success, possessions, etc.
Boast: to speak with exaggeration and excessive pride, especially about oneself
Arrogant: making claims or pretensions to superior importance or rights; overbearingly assuming; insolently proud
Rude: discourteous or impolite, especially in a deliberate way; rough, harsh, or ungentle
Most of this is about wanting what others have, wanting to be more important than others or acting like others don’t count much.
Comparisons can get you into trouble. Pray about understanding your own worth and the beauty of your individuality. Then take the time to get to know Jesus who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. Philippians 2:6-7 ESV
I like the way that The Message puts it:
Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.
We don’t need to envy others or try to be superior to them. We are already women of great worth and value, loved greatly by our Father. We can love and serve the way Jesus did and it doesn’t reflect on our worth at all.
Image credit © Wd2007 | Dreamstime.com
Opportunity to Love
[Love] does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 1 Corinthians 13:5b-6 ESV
Insist: to be emphatic, firm, or resolute on some matter of desire, demand, intention, etc.
I probably should have included this in yesterday’s post because this is more about selflessness and serving. We don’t demand our own way. It’s OK to ask for and work for what we want, but we are not the only person in the world and we need to make room for others. Our way is not the only way and certainly not the only right way.
Irritable: easily irritated or annoyed; readily excited to impatience or anger.
Resentment: the feeling of displeasure or indignation at some act, remark, person, etc., regarded as causing injury or insult.
I often think that people who are given to irritation and anger are just people who don’t know how special they are. They typically think that others’ behavior is a reflection of them and then they get hurt and act badly. I realize that this is not always the case, but I think it is much of the time.
The kids are not behaving and we feel like a bad parent, get scared and start yelling. Our husband is late and we see that as he doesn’t care about our time and, by extension, he doesn’t care about us. We feel hurt and disrespected. We get grumpy or give him the silent treatment.
Reality is, much of what others do is more about them ~ their attitudes, their thoughts and beliefs, their bad hair day. We just catch the fallout.
If we know that we are valued and have worth. It’s easier to be understanding and kind when the people around us are struggling. Hug that kid and help him get his chores done. Give your husband a welcoming kiss and warm up his dinner plate. Be a team player. Be a woman who is kind and thoughtful, patient and generous. You are a wonderful person, loved deeply by God. What’s a little inconvenience? … just an opportunity to serve another and make their day a little easier. Think of the ripple effect of that!
Rejoice: to be glad; take delight
We’re supposed to rejoice in the truth and not rejoice at wrong doing. I looked that up in several versions and I think it’s all about heart attitude. Yeah! We love it when God wins and truth sets people free. Boo! We hate it when bad destructive things happen. That goes for when bad things happen to people we don’t like … um, yes, that too. We are supposed to bless those who curse us, pray for those who abuse us. (Luke 6:28) We’re talking about serious heart attitude here.
This is what love does.
Image credit © Warren0909 | Dreamstime.com
You’re Kidding, Right?
Here’s the last little bit on 1 Corinthians 13.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:7 ESV
Honestly, this part has been a struggle for me to understand. I’ve known a lot of abuse in my life and, while I could understand “bearing” and “enduring,” the “believing” and “hoping” thing was … well … “You’re kidding, right, God?”
Over the years I’ve muddled around in it, banging my head against the hurts and the things I wanted to say and do. God continued to work in my heart and understanding (I”m so glad I’m His workmanship, it would be impossible to do this on my own).
I think the Amplified version helps a bit.
Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].
I don’t think we need to be blind to reality to live out this scripture. Bad stuff happens all the time and people do and say horrible things. Real love isn’t blind. I think it just sees far more than the natural eye. We can love, knowing that God is big enough to work in and through it all … and knowing that God is working in us so that we can love with His kind of love.
That friend that betrayed me? I can love her, pray for her, wish good for her and believe that God still loves her and is working in her life. That time of brokenness and wrongdoing doesn’t have to be the last thing said about her life. I can forgive her. I can hope for and believe better things for her.
The people who molested me as a child? Same thing. Yes, it’s a far bigger stretch, but I can still see the potential for God to work in the situation, redeem the people and work good out of the bad.
His love really is that big and He wants to show His love through us. He wants that love to characterize our lives and our marriages.
So when your husband is home late for the umpteenth time or, even when he does something really hurtful or destructive, serve him up a little love. I’m not saying don’t deal with or ignore real problems. I’m just saying do it with love, from a position of kindness, understanding and generosity.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV