I Corinthians 13: 4-8: This passage deserves to be quoted. It deserves to be memorized and demonstrated (acted out) every day, to God, to yourself, to your family, and to your neighbors. This is my version, found from several translations, too numerous to mention. So here goes: “Love suffers long, (yes, I know, modern versions say ‘Patient’, but this means so much more than that) and is kind; it is not jealous, or boastful, or proud, or rude; it does not demand its own way, It is not irritable or grouchy; It will hardly even notice when others do it wrong. [Love] doesn’t rejoice in evil, but rejoices in the truth. Excuses all the faults of all the others (big order), believes the best about everyone, hopes the best for everybody. Love hangs in there with you through thick and thin, forever. It never gives up. Love never fails.”
How many wives are out there who have told their husbands, “Your momma just doesn’t live here, and you’re going to have to pick up after yourself.”; and they told their kids 500 times about doing what they’re told, instead of making excuses? Or about doing the homework and not waiting til the last minute? Isn’t that what love is really about? Telling them over and over, and over, hoping, praying, believing that it will finally soak in. That’s what God does.
That “putting up with ‘em” love is also expressed in “Love excuses the faults of others”. Some versions say “Bears all things”. Eugene Peterson’s version, The Message, actually says for that phrase, “Puts up with anything.” The New International version of the Bible in Spanish uses the expression, “Todo disculpa.” That means, “Excuses all.” Reminds me of the Prodigal Son. My Daddy used an expression, “Chalk ’em off your list.” It meant you weren’t going to have anything else to do with someone ever again. That’s what you’d expect the father to do in the story of the prodigal son, isn’t it? But he didn’t do that. He treated his son like his son! That’s what God does for us; mercy and forgiveness.
Love means being humble; not thinking you have to “stick up for yourself”; letting the other person go first in line; not gigging ‘em back when they gig you; giving ‘em that ‘soft answer’ that turns away anger. That’s love. Not demanding your own way. Wow! How often do I feel like someone has stepped on my toes and I really need to get them stated. Talk about quenching that ‘loving feeling’. Not irritable or grouchy. That really is love.
Where do we get that kind of love? We only get it when we surrender, trust God, and let His Spirit come into our hearts. That’s when we begin to be able to ‘put up with them’ and truly love.
What do you think . . .what do you do?
1] How does humble relate to love?
2] How does this kind of love relate to the story of the Prodigal Son?
3] Have you ever had someone treat you like the father treated his son in that story?