Recently, a friend and i were talking about what it really means to "love our husbands". While i won't go into what turned out to be a rather lengthy conversation; let me share something about Love. This is taken, and re-worded to save space, from the "Self – Confrontation Manual", published by the Biblical Counseling Foundation.
Most of us are familiar with the 1st Corinthians 13 passage on love. I will attempt to take it point by point and define each part. It was quite eye-opening for me when i first read through this….and really began to understand God's definition of love vs. our own 'human' definition or the world's or some other definition outside of the Biblical definition.
First, let me state my definition of Biblical love, as i understand it from Scripture: "REAL love is an action, backed up by COMMITTMENT, based on what is BEST for another. It is sacrificial in nature."
1st Corinthians 13:4-8:
“LOVE IS PATIENT"….. even when you're tempted to forcefully express yourself. Godly love bears up, without complaint, under adversity, trial, pain, or provocation.
"LOVE IS KIND"……even when wanting to retaliate verbally or physically. Love strives to be gentle considerate of others, and sympathetic.
"LOVE IS NOT JEALOUS"…..even when others are getting noticed more than you. One is not to engage in rivalry, nor hostility, nor suspicion when another seems to enjoy an advantage. The other's welfare and good are to be the prime objectives.
"LOVE DOES NOT BRAG (IS NOT BOASTFUL)"…..especially when tempted to tell others of your accomplishments. One doesn't "toot one's own horn" and love does not engage in self-glorification, rather it seeks to build up others.
"LOVE IS NOT ARROGANT"……though you may think you are absolutely right and others are wrong. Love avoids becoming overbearing or overly assertive in dealing with others.
"LOVE DOES NOT ACT UNBECOMINGLY"…..even when acting thus will get you your way, or give you attention. Love looks to what is appropriate and right in the situation in order to honor the Lord.
"LOVE DOES NOT SEEK ITS OWN"…..even when it feels justified to do so, or there is opportunity to do so. Love does not insist on its own way or try to fulfill selfish desires; rather love seeks to serve rather than to be served.
"LOVE IS NOT PROVOKED"…..even when others try to provoke you or you are tempted to lash out at someone or something. Love does not engage in outbursts of anger, but continues to gently, and faithfully train others in righteousness, even when they fail.
"LOVE DOES NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT A WRONG SUFFERED"…..even when you are openly attacked or everyone seems opposed to you. Love does NOT hold a grudge, but forgives, not bringing up past wrongs, (except in order to instruct or reprove….more on that in another blog); does not retaliate, return evil for evil, nor does it indulge in self-pity.
"LOVE DOES NOT REJOICE IN UNRIGHTEOUSNESS"…..even when it seems another "deserved what they got". Love shows mercy, and mourns over sin, and the pain sin causes. Love seeks reconciliation with the Lord and with others.
"LOVE REJOICES WITH THE TRUTH"….. even when it's tempting or seems easier to lie. Love seeks the truth and speaks the truth even if it causes one adverse circumstances, or persecution or to be rebuked.
"LOVE BEARS ALL THINGS"…..even when you experience overwhelming disappointments and/or failures. Love has an eternal perspective on difficulties, thus can be tolerant of others who are difficult to understand or deal with. Love knows that difficult circumstances are used by God to develop spiritual maturity.
"LOVE BELIEVES ALL THINGS"…..even when the actions of others are inconsistent or you don't feel like trusting. Love does not judge others' motives, and believes others until or unless facts prove otherwise. And even when facts prove untrustworthiness in another, love reaches out to help restore the other to trustworthiness.
"LOVE HOPES ALL THINGS"…..even when nothing seems to go right. Love believes and trusts in the fulfillment of God's plan and expects God to be at work in one's life, as well as anticipating the best for another. Love entrusts, with confidence, others to God's sovereign will and plan in their lives.
"LOVE ENDURES ALL THINGS"…..particularly when you think you can not endure the circumstances or people in your life. Love continues to steadfastly suffer and endure hardship, if necessary, without yielding to hopelessness or self-pity or any such thing, and to return a blessing while under trial.
"LOVE NEVER FAILS"…..even though things seem overwhelming or the situation or person utterly hopeless. Love doesn't fall apart under pressure, or crumble like a cookie in difficulties. Love is selfless, and faithful even to the point of death.
Well, there you have it. This Godlly love does not come without prayer, without knowing our Lord, and continuing to walk steadfastly with Him, and without reading the Scriptures and meditating and studying them. This love is perfected amidst our failures, as we confess our sins, repent, and in the power of the Holy Spirit learn to walk in Godly love. i truly believe if Christians, in their marriages, practiced even two of these 16 aspects of love; we would not be experiencing the same divorce rate as the world. And, can you imagine what our churches would look like? Oh, my….we would "turn the world upside down"! May it come to be so!