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 13:4-8
What do you think of when you hear these verses? When I read them they give me a warm, loving feeling and I sigh as I think of weddings and Valentine’s Day. I’m sure you’ve seen it on Wedding programs and on facebook posts in front of pretty pictures. It’s a beautiful passage for sure as it describes love.
It describes a feeling. Something that we feel between another person and for those that we deeply love. It describes our Heavenly Father. We are left with a sense of peace as we are reminded that in love all of our hurts can be forgotten.
In 1 Corinthians 13 God gave us a perfect picture of what love is.
Now, what if we start thinking of this verse differently. First of all let’s look at what the Bible says in regards to love.
1 Peter 4:8 says, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”
1 John 4:7 says, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.”
Romans 13:10 says, “Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”
Ephesians 4:2 says, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
I could list verses for days, but I think you get the point. We are commanded to love one-another. Not just the people that are easy to love, but our enemies as well. We are called to love when all we feel is anger and hatred. Christ is in us and so hatred for other people can not and should not even be an option. We must be a picture of love at all times. You can read more about God’s love for us here.
And I must admit that this is really hard sometimes. I would often rather be angry than love. As I write I can recall in my mind situation where I have been hurt and I don’t want to show love to others. I want to hold on to my anger. If someone wrongs me then I want them to pay for it. Offering love and forgiveness makes me feel weak and I don’t want to be weak.
But I’ve got it all wrong. Showing forgiveness and love when I’ve been hurt doesn’t show weakness, it shows humility. It means admitting that I also fail sometimes and must forgive others because Christ forgave me. Pretty tough stuff to deal with, huh?
Now read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 again.
The love described in this verse is what we should be striving for. Each and every day we are going to feel like holding on to our anger but we have to let it go. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 isn’t just describing what love is, but how we are to love each other.
Let’s read the verses one more time, but this time replace Love with your name.
Brittany is patient, Brittany is kind. Brittany does not envy, Brittany does not boast, Brittany is not proud. Brittany does not dishonor others, Brittany is not self-seeking, Brittany is not easily angered, Brittany keeps no record of wrongs. Brittany does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Brittany always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Brittany never fails.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
As I say the verse above and apply it to my own life, I know that I fail. It gives me a goal and a reminder of how Christ would act and I should act. We are called to be the light of the world and show love to others.
Love is a wonderful thing just as the verse says but there is a lot of work behind it. Showing love means making a conscious, daily decision to love others instead of our grudges and pride. When you put your name in the verse how did you do? It’s ok if you fail like me, we are just human. But now let’s take action. Write out this verse, using your name, and place it somewhere that you will see it every day. Let it be a reminder of how God wants us to be. Remember that it’s ok to fail as long as you are trying. Let this verse lead you to love others because it is full of wonderful truths and you are the recipient of this love from God.
How can you use this verse to show love to others during Valentine’s week?