My bible study left me without words tonight. 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 is a well-quoted verse of scripture. So often though we can quote this verse and have very little understanding of what it means or what Love really looks like.
How many times have we said "I love you", be it to a friend, family member or spouse and then said something harsh or did something ugly? How many times have we seen Love distorted by sin?
I am challenged by these words. I am left undone at the thought of how I love and how I am loved. Will you be left undone as well?
Love is Patient: Even when you feel like forcefully expressing yourself. Love bears pain, or trials without complaint showing forbearance under provocation or strain and is steadfast despite opposition, difficulty or adversity.
Love is Kind: Even when you want to retaliate physically or tear down another with your words. Love is sympathetic, considerate, gentle and agreeable.
Love is not Arrogant: Even when you think you are right, and others are wrong. Love does not assert itself or become overbearing in dealing with others.
Love is Not Provoked: Even when others attempt to provoke you or you're tempted to strike out at something or someone. Love is not around or incited to outburst of anger. Love continues to faithfully and gently to train others in righteousness, even when they fail.
Love does not take into account Wrong Suffered: Even when everyone seems to be against you or when people openly attack you. Love does not hold a grudge against someone. Love forgives, chooses not to bring up past wrongs in accusation or retaliation, does not return evil for evil, and does not indulge in self-pity. Love covers a multitude of sins.
Love Bears All Things: Even when disappointments seem overwhelming. Love is tolerant, endures with others who are difficult to understand or deal with, and has an eternal perspective in difficulties. Love remembers that God develops spiritual maturity through difficult circumstances.
Love Believes All Things: Even when others’ actions are ambiguous and you feel like not trusting anyone. Love accepts trustfully, does not judge people’s motives, and believes others until fact prove otherwise. Even with the facts prove that the other person is untrustworthy, love seeks to help restore the other to trustworthiness.
Love Hopes All Things: Even when nothing appears to be going right. Love expects fulfillment of God’s plan and anticipates the best for the other person. Love confidently entrusts others to the Lord to do His sovereign and perfect will in their lives.
Love Endures All Things: Especially when you think you just can’t endure the people or circumstances in your life. Love remains steadfast under suffering or hardship without yielding and returns a blessing while undergoing trials.
Love Never Fails: Even when you feel overwhelmed and the situation seems hopeless. Love will not crumble under pressure or difficulties. Love remains selflessly faithful even to the point of death.
Maybe this is what Christlike Love looks like.....
It almost seems too lofty for my human mind to comprehend.
*All Attributes of Love were quoted from Self-Confrontation, A manual for In-depth biblical discipleship. Developed by John C Broger.
*These things are not advocating to stay in or excuse abusive behavior.