The love Christ commands us to give to ourselves and others is ‘agape love.’ It is the pure, beautiful love of God which we behold and pursue in the first commandment. Paul articulates it in the ‘love chapter’ of 1 Corinthians 13. He helps us clearly understand that love is a verb…actions are what love is all about.
Let’s look at those verses in a ‘flip-side’ way for a moment…let’s consider what it looks to be UN-loving in the context of 1 Corinthians 13.
I will get even! I will not be patient–
I will not suffer long for you!
I have given enough! I don’t want to do anything good for you!
I want more!
I am more important than you!
I am right!
I don’t care about what you need or think!
I want you to do it my way!
I am mad and you need to know it!
I have been hurt by you too many times!
I want you to get what you deserve!
I don’t care what God says–I’m doing it my way!
I will say what I want–so what if it hurts you!
I know you can’t do that–you’re a loser!
I know you will never be loving to me!
I give up!
Did any of those surprise you? They help me process things I might not have thought of as lacking love. When I am not loving, I need to confess my need for more of God’s love and ask God’s spirit to work in me.
Now, here is a more traditional look at 1 Corinthians 13 that you may enjoy!
Patient. I don’t need to get even.
Kind. I seek to give and to do good.
Content. I don’t want what others have.
Humble. I don’t need to make myself look self-important.
Peaceable. I don’t always have to be right.
Courteous. I show respect.
Serving. I don’t have to get my own way.
Calm. I don’t blow up and lose my temper.
Forgetful. I don’t keep a list of ways I’ve been hurt.
Righteous. I want the best for others.
Truthful. I love God’s word and try to obey it.
Protective. I don’t say hurtful things about (or to) others.
Positive. I believe the best about others.
Hope. I believe good will come.
Endure. I will not give up.
Love is the most beautiful gift of all, and it lasts forever. Love much. Love well!