A sneaking suspicion

I have always suspected that the verses of the day at Biblegateway aren’t random, and now I know it. As we approach Valentine’s Day, it seems to me that they want to focus on love, which is why the verse yesterday and the verse today are both out of 1 Corinthians 13. I think that’s pretty cool, honestly. As we approach the day that’s supposed to be about loving each other, it’s good to focus on what love really is.

1 Corinthians 13:4-5

4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.

This is another one of those wonderfully plain verses that doesn’t need a lot of commentary. How can anyone make this more easy to understand?

Love is patient. If you love someone, you are patience with them.

Love is kind. If you love somone, you look for ways to do nice things for them.

Love is not jealous or boastful or rude. If you love someone, you are happy when they have nice things or when good things happen to them. If you love someone you dong brag about the good things in your life when you know they don’t have them. If you love someone, you are kind in your speech and in your attitude and you think about what you say before you say it.

Love doesn’t demand its own way. If you love someone, you are satisfied with doing things someone else’s way. You don’t have to have your way all the time.

Love is not irritable. Here’s one I struggle with. Love isn’t grouchy for any reason. And boy do I get grouchy sometimes. And I shouldn’t. I know I’m not perfect, but there’s no reason to snap at the people I love . . . . even if I am sick as a dog. =)

Love keeps no record of being wronged. Love forgets. This is the one that amazes me. Have you ever met someone who keeps track of the past? Who remembers everything that was ever done wrong to them? How exhausting must it be for remember all that? And not only remember but bring it up again at the drop of a hat to remind everyone how they were wronged? If you love someone, you should forget what they’ve done to you.

Forgetting is a strange thing though, especially when it comes to forgiveness, so I feel like I need to add a little something to quantify what I’m talking about. Because it’s foolish to forgive someone and then walk right back into a close relationship with that person when you know they’re just going to do it again. There is such a thing as throwing your pearls before swine.

You can forgive someone and keep your distance until they prove themselves worthy of a relationshp again. You can forget that someone has wronged you and continue to love that person without spending time with them. So please don’t misunderstand me when I say that if you love someone you need to go make up to your abusive boyfriend or your friend who is a criminal (you get the idea).

Love them. Yes. Forgive them. Yes. And forget that you were wronged and don’t bring it up again. Yes. But return to the same level of trust and friendship you had before they hurt you? Bad idea. Very bad idea. Because you may have learned how to love and forgive and forget, but it’s a good bet they haven’t. And the only thing getting back into a friendship with them will do is damage you.

It’s kind of like missionary dating. I heard that term the other day and it made me happy. Missionary dating. A Christian dating a nonbeliever in order to convert him or her. Does it work? Maybe in very rare circumstances, but more often than not, what happens is that the Christian ends up compromising his or her faith.

So I guess I should rephrase my concluding statements from yesterday:

Love God. Love people, forgiving them constantly but wisely understanding when to keep your distance. But either way, God will still work everything out (because God is just awesome like that).

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