This is part two of a four part series titled “Love IS”. Throughout the four posts we will be breaking down the extremely well known passage out of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians.
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)
In the first post I talked about the emotions that can be used to test our love. Four of them were emotions not to feel and only one was one that true love feels towards others. This post will be more about how we affect others by how our emotions play out. Just like last time, Paul tells us more ways that love should not manifest itself and gives us one more loving attribute to demonstrate in our lives. Once again, lets start with the naughty list.
Love should not be boastful, insist on its own way, or rude. What do each of those things have in common? They are all self-centered actions. No thriving relationship can ever revolve around one person. The root of, probably most conflicts, is when one person demands their way and won’t budge. The act of insisting on our own way is a form of boasting. It’s the equivalent of saying, “I know what’s best and you don’t know what you’re talking about.” But boasting certainly goes way beyond that. Last time we talked about people being arrogant. Arrogance is the emotion that leads to boasting. Another word for arrogance is pride, which is not a positive attribute, no matter how society tries to promote it.
Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall.
Proverbs 16:18 (HCSB)
Boasting is anything a person does to draw attention to themselves. It’s putting yourself at the center of whatever relationship you’re in and setting your wants and needs as priority. People who are boastful are generally rude, especially when their demands or expectations aren’t met. They can’t seem to understand why others don’t view them how they view themselves. When the bible says that pride leads to destruction and a fall, it’s not a warning to take lightly. Relationships shatter, churches split, teams fail, and lives are ruined all because of pride. Pride in oneself and true love cannot coexist. They are enemies of one another. Instead of being self focused, love is a reflection of a person’s heart that seeks the good of another.
The act of being kind, requires a person to regard the feelings of others, to look beyond themselves, and to intentionally influence another for their good, even at their own expense at times. Showing kindness to someone can save a relationship, end strife, and even save lives. Other words for showing kindness include: affection, warmth, gentleness, concern, and care. When we’re rude, it shows that we value ourselves above all. When we’re kind, it shows that we value others above ourselves.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Philippians 2:3-4 (ESV)
If we want our marriages to thrive then we need to be more concerned with what our spouse’s needs are than our own. We need to making a real attempt to show them kindness every day. That can take several forms. For some, the simple act of asking about their spouse’s day or how they’re doing and genuinely listening is a big step. Or how about asking them what you can do to help them or make life easier for them. Kindness can be seen in a warm embrace or a gentle response. Kindness is setting our own emotions aside out of concern for what the other is going through. In the last post we talked about how patience requires humility. Well, so does kindness. In fact, the patient person is far more likely to be a kind and caring person. The kind person is one who goes through a day thinking of others. The kind person is a concerned person. The kind person is sad for those who are grieving, and celebrates with the victories of others. The world of a kind person is so much bigger than themselves. The act of being kind is a tangible reflection of love. Make it a priority, every day, to show kindness to your spouse. Not just when it’s convenient, when you feel like it, or if you feel they deserve it, but always. Because love is kind.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Romans 12:15-18 (ESV)