Love is Patient and Kind
Love Is the Greatest
“If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. f I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. (NLT)
I Corinthians 13 is referred to as the “love chapter” and it is often used in wedding ceremonies in the United States. In its most basic form, it provides what love is and what love is not.
It is a valuable resource to evaluate if the love you say you have for your spouse is displayed through your behavior. It includes a list of instructions that paint a picture of why a couple is happily married and it highlights why a marriage may be going terribly wrong.
I Corinthians doesn’t have to be reserved only for those in love. It’s a great tool to use to maintain healthy relationships regardless of who they are with. “Without love, we are no good to anybody.” I Corinthians 13:1-3
Most of us want to be there to help our family and friends and “to love our neighbor as ourselves.” Mark 12:31
If I’m having some sort of relational conflict and I use this as a guide, it doesn’t take long to recognize what I could do differently. I was getting ready to read through the list of what love is not when I stopped at the first two descriptors in the chapter. Love is summed up in two words: Patience and Kindness (verse 4).
I spent the next few weeks paying attention to my reactions to situations and people. Were my defaults to what love is not or what love is? I didn’t want to use a bad day as an excuse for being irritable to those around me. I approached my daily interactions mindful of how I exhibited love through kindness and patience.
At the end of the two weeks, I was reminded that I can always improve on being patient by being “quick to listen and slow to speak.” The second thing the Lord helped me with was to recognize when I was being rude, and why, even if I thought it was in the slightest, unintentional way. It gave me the opportunity to apologize on the spot.
Third, I took the time to reflect on the instances when my reaction to things in words stemmed from thoughts that went unchecked. If I never spoke a word, but let my thoughts fester, I was without love as much as I would have been had I spoken unkindly. My thoughts revealed a lot about how I was displaying love towards someone. When was my silence unloving? How was I loving them better?
Our words and actions are on display, but our thoughts, if go unchecked, will eventually spew out of our mouths. “It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.” Matthew 15:11
God’s thoughts of me are always with loving affection. Always! May my every thought be dominated with godly love and affection for all people. “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Matthew 12:34
Can you say that all of your thoughts are of love and kindness towards others? “All” seems like an impossibility, but if we strive to love always, we would have a deeper level of love flowing out of us instead of defaulting to our habits in the “what love is not” categories.
In times past I may have dismissed some of my negative behavior as fun-loving, not unloving. “That’s just who I am.” “That’s just part of my personality.” God is doing some pruning in my life. As difficult as it is to see, I am so thankful God loves me enough to show me how I can love him more and I can be an expression of his love.
What’s your weakness when it comes to being an extension of God’s love? Do you exhibit arrogance? Are you candid to the point of being rude? Do you need to have the last word? Are you irritable to those around you when you’re having a bad day? Do you keep a book of the wrongs? Psalm 103:12
May our love be rooted deeply in the love of Christ. God’s love must be the driving force of all we say and do and think.
Five things you can do to love like Christ:
Ask: Be proactive. Ask God to fill you with his unconditional love; full of grace and gentleness. Matthew 7:7
“Love comes from God.” I John 4:7; I John 4:16
Put on love: “And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live IN him and he IN us.” I John 4:13 be conscious and “Clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Colossians 3:12
Speak a word of thanks: My dad use to say that “a thank you will go a long way.” When I felt overworked in my former career, a little thank you made me feel valued. It was amazing how two words from someone who noticed could ease my frustration. Look around and extend thanks to others.
Instead of calling people out for what they do wrong, “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:6-8
Speak blessing and pray for others. “Bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.” Luke 6:28 NKJV
“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. I Timothy 2:1
Love in action: “Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.” I Peter 4:8
The greatest love you can extend to another is the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the only love that can save one from death. Christ exhibited this first so that we may have eternal life. I John 4:9-10
“If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.”
Serving and caring for others. Isaiah 1:17
The simplicity of love: Be patient. Be kind.
Simple, yet powerful and impactful ways scripture teaches us patience and kindness can be displayed towards others:
Humility: “Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride.” Ecclesiastes 7:8
Peacemaker: “May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus.” Romans 15:5
Blessing others: “We work wearily with our own hands to earn our living. We bless those who curse us. We are patient with those who abuse us.” I Corinthians 4:12
Gentleness and forgiving: “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” Ephesians 4:2
Encouraging and building up: “Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.” I Thessalonians 5:14
Teaching and serving others: “A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people.” 2 Timothy 2:4
Wearing God’s Word like jewelry: “Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart.” Proverbs 3:3
Compassion and being pleasant: “Your kindness will reward you, but your cruelty will destroy you.” Proverbs 11:17
Wisdom: “When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.” Proverbs 31:26
Mercy: “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Judge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another.” Zechariah 7:9
Holiness: “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” Colossians 3:12
Refreshing of the soul: “Your love has given me much joy and comfort, my brother, for your kindness has often refreshed the hearts of God’s people.” Philemon 1:7