Valentine’s Day is coming up soon. A lot of people have the topic of ‘love’ on their minds right now, whatever (or whomever) that means to them. At church we’ve been listening to a series of sermons based off of the famous “Love Passage” from 1 Corinthians 13:
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
(1 Cor. 13:4-8a, NKJV).
If there is one topic from Scripture that convicts me the most, it is probably the topic of “love.” Can any of us read this 1 Corinthians passage and walk away actually feeling good about ourselves? It’s probably one of the most humbling chapters, because it seems that no matter how far I progress in my love for the LORD, I still come away realizing that my love is still far from being what it should be.
As I go through this passage, I realize that a close synonym for “love” would be “selflessness.” If we really love others, if we really put others above ourselves, then we could obey this passage. Love isn’t just the opposite of hate – it’s also the opposite of selfishness.
A selfish person is impatient, because he cares too much about his own time or comfort. But a selfless person is patient and longsuffering.
A selfish person will speak unkindly, not caring how his words will affect the hearer. But a selfless person will act and speak in kindness, because he does care.
A selfish person will be jealous, wishing he could have what others do. But a selfless person will know how to be content, while “rejoicing with those who rejoice.”
A selfish person is boastful and proud, caring about what others think of him. But a selfless person would never think to parade himself before others; instead, he would focus on the accomplishments of others.
A selfish person is rude. A selfless person is thoughtful and considerate.
A selfish person “seeks his own.” It’s all about what he can gain. But a selfless person always seeks the good of others.
A selfish person is provoked when things don’t go his way. A selfless person responds with grace.
A selfish person has evil thoughts – selfishness in itself is an evil. But a selfless person has thoughts for God, and will seek to “take every thought into captivity.”
A selfish person will rejoice in the wrong things, and will not bear annoyances well. A selfless person will rejoice in good, and will bear “all things.”
A selfish person can’t be depended upon to be there for you, or to do the right thing. But a selfless person will, because “Love never fails.”
Our pastor pointed out today that it’s easy for someone to say, “I’d take a bullet for you” – and mean it, too. But it can be a lot harder to demonstrate our love in the small things, in the mundane everyday.
But that – that is true love.