God calls us to love. It’s stated a lot throughout the bible, but the most clear description of how we should love one another is found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
The verse uses many adjectives to describe what Godly love is and what Godly love isn’t. To get a better understanding of how God wants us to love others (boyfriends, girlfriends, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, etc.), we should break it down and look into the meaning of each key word in the verse. As you read these definitions, ask yourself: “Am I doing this? Am I not doing this? How can I love better?”
Love is patient
“The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.” is the Oxford definition of patience. Your patience will be tested so many times in any type of relationship. There will be arguments, difficulties, and plenty more that will require patience on both ends. From with all of the ups and downs life has, patience is a must.
Love is kind
“The quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.” is the definition of kindness according to the Oxford dictionary. This should be a given in any relationship, but even the best of us may forget to be friendly on bad days, or even during arguments. Kindness is something couples/friends/family should try to maintain even in rage. Proverbs 15:1 reminds us that “a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”.
It does not envy
“A feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck.” defines envy. This tells us that we should not harbor jealousy over the things our significant other/parent/sibling/friend possesses. This could be a job, a grade, or a God given talent. God created us all uniquely with our own sort of specialness. Rather than being envious, we should encourage and love on them as they embrace this thing, whatever it may be.
It does not boast
“Showing excessive pride and self-satisfaction in one’s achievements, possessions, or abilities.” is the definition of boastfulness. As aforementioned, boastful is synonymous to prideful. The bible warns against pride in multiple verses (Proverbs 8:13, James 4:6, Proverbs 11:2). Without Jesus, we are nothing. Our only pride should be in Him. He is the only thing worth boasting about. This can affect relationships by creating unnecessary jealousy.
It is not proud
“Feeling deep pleasure or satisfaction as a result of one’s own achievements, qualities, or possessions or those of someone with whom one is closely associated.” defines being proud. Being proud is very similar to being boastful. This tells us that in our love we should not be proud, but humble. We should feel honored that God blessed us with someone, not as though we deserved it. Excessive pride in any relationship is never good.
It does not dishonor others
“A state of shame or disgrace.” is the definition of dishonor. We should never bring dishonor upon those we love. This tells us we should only speak kindly of our partner/parent/sibling/friend. Highlight the best of him, don’t put his faults on display. Those are between him and God, not you and your friends.
It is not self-seeking
“Having concern for one’s own welfare and interests before those of others.” defines self-seeking. In a relationship, the other person’s opinion and wellbeing should be held just as high as yours. Think of them often, not just of yourself. Jesus was not self-seeking on the cross, and we should not be in our relationships.
It is not easily angered
“A strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility.” is the definition of anger. Anger is a strong, harmful emotion that should be kept at bay at all costs. This line tells us that Godly love is hard to anger or upset. Psalms 103:8 tells us “The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.”. We should follow His example, as always. When angry, always keep reign over your tongue.
It keeps no record of wrongs
“[To] act unjustly or dishonestly toward (someone).” defines wrongs. In our relationships, the past should stay in the past. We are human and we make mistakes, but those past mistakes should not be constantly dredged up to the present. If God can forgive and forget, why can’t we? Help this person to grow more everyday in Christ.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth
“Profoundly immoral and wicked.” defines evil. “The quality or state of being true.” defines truth. Godly love does not take pleasure in doing wrong or evil, but delights over the trueness of the Word. The world gives us many temptations that may seem wonderful in our eyes, but they are actually filled with evil. Pray together for discernment and help each other to stay strong and not fall into Satan’s traps.
It always protects
“Keep safe from harm or injury.” is the definition of protect. Jesus protected us from eternal damnation when he died in our place on the cross. We can help protect those we love spiritually by offering bible-based advice, or physically should the need ever arise. When we love someone, protecting that person is instinctual.
“Firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something.” defines trust. Trust is a staple in a good relationship, whether it be romantic or platonic. It’s hard to confide in someone you can’t trust. Work on build trust with your friends and family.
“A feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen.” is the definition of hope. In love there is always hope. We hope for our friends to be the best version of themselves they can be. We should put that hope into action and pray over them daily.
“Continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty or with little or no indication of success.” defines persevere. No matter how difficult life may get, we are called to love with a love that endures it all. Jesus persevered for us on the cross all of those years ago. Sticking by your friend when everything else seems to be against them is sometimes the kindest thing you can do.
After reading the book definitions of these words, I realized that I may not be loving with the Godly love I should be. God reprimands us because he is our Father; He loves us and wants us to be the best version of ourselves that we can be. Maybe God nudged you about your patience. Maybe it was your trust. Maybe it was nothing at all. We can always learn to love a little better. Thankfully, we have the best Role Model we could ask for.