Today will be our last installment of this previously published series on 1 Corinthians 13
1 Corinthians 13
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.1 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
Love Is Not Rude or Selfish
Love doesn’t behave itself unseemly. Love is not rude. Love is not ill mannered. That seems fairly simple, right? Why would rudeness or being ill mannered exhibit a lack of love? If we conduct ourselves in a rude manner, we are simply saying in effect, “I don’t even care enough about you to consider how my actions might affect you.”
Love seeketh not her own. Love is not selfish. Biblical love should be seeking the best for others, and that sometimes is not going to be what is best for us.
These two could be summed up by simply stating that true Biblical love gives up what we would consider “personal rights.”
Jesus surrendered ALL of His personal rights for us, therefore setting the example for us in this matter? What exactly did He give up? What did He do?
Philippians 2:5-8 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
How’s that for an example?
Love Is Not Angry
Love is not easily provoked; love doesn’t get angry. Many at this point may be saying, “What about righteous anger?” Okay, true, but how many of us are really out there tipping over the tables of the money changers in the Temple?
Most of our anger is NOT righteous anger. Most of it is simply because we are not getting things our way. Trust me, I know this very, very well! When we are angry because we don’t get our way, we are saying simply that we do not love the other person. Why? Because at that point we are saying our needs are more important than their needs. Part of true Biblical love is putting the needs of others first. If we are angry because of solely what has been done to us, we are in violation of Paul’s teaching here.
Again, Jesus set the example here. Of course, The Bible teaches cases of Jesus being angry. He was angry at the money changers, sin and the false teachers of the time. But did you ever notice that not once did Jesus ever get angry at someone for what they were doing to Him? He didn’t even get angry at those who placed Him on that cross.
Love Is Not Keeping Count
Love thinketh no evil. That statement needs some explanation, really. It’s not that we don’t think evil thoughts. This has to do with keeping track. This means we aren’t keeping an accounting, or a ledger of the wrongs another person has done to us.
The previous devotion showed us how we are not to react in anger at the moment a wrong is done to us; this one is about how we likewise should not hold a grudge over wrongs done to us. In other words, forgive and forget. Of course, we can’t always literally forget wrongs, so what does this mean in reality? As with all things love, this one is a factor of our actions and not necessarily our minds. We may remember wrongs, but we need to not let them change the way we behave towards another.
The word used for the accounting in this passage is the same word for accounting used to refer to God’s forgiveness. He does not keep an accounting of our sins once they are forgiven. Do we look at the transgressions of others the way God looks at ours?
Love Does Not Rejoice In Sin
Love doesn’t take joy, or rejoice, in iniquity; That is, unrighteousness or sin. How does this happen? Well, there are probably a couple of ways this happens.
One is rejoicing in our own sin. Yes, that is correct; even believing Christians sometimes rejoice in our own sins. How? Well, perhaps by continuing to purposely sin because we know we are forgiven. We may claim we are just rejoicing in Christian freedom, but we are actually rejoicing in our sin.
The other, and very common way we rejoice is to rejoice in the sins and iniquities of other people. The list of how we do this could be long, so we will talk about a couple.
We gossip. We TALK about the sins of others. Sometimes we even gossip through our prayers! If we aren’t talking to that person about their sin, then we don’t need to be talking about their sin. Just in case you think I’m talking about you, that statement was VERY convicting to me personally.
Why would we rejoice in another person’s sin? Well, it is probably not because we are happy for their fun! We are probably doing it because it makes us feel that we are somewhat, if not vastly, better than they are. I can only speak for myself, however. What about you?
Love Does Rejoice In Truth
There are so many possible lessons here it would take pages to cover them, so we will just sum up a few.
Love is honest, especially with other people. We should deal with people in all of our dealings honestly. Tell the truth; don’t lie; don’t flatter to get your way.
Love shares the truth of the Gospel. If we don’t share with our fellow humans salvation through Jesus Christ, we are basically not being truthful with them about their eternity.
Love shares the truth of scripture. We have to teach what the Bible teaches in love but also with truth. We do not show love to anybody by watering down the truths the Bible teaches.
Paul begins wrapping up the description of love given to him by the Holy Spirit here. All things…repeated four times in this verse. Really, we can just see here how Paul is more or less saying that love is all things. Does that sound familiar? Remember all the law and prophets hanging on love?
Love bears all things. Not that love just puts up with things and gets shoved around. Love bears all the transgressions of others OUT of love.
Love believes all things. Love is not gullible. Love looks for the best in people. Of course we are all sinners, but we don’t need to be looking for the sin. Trust and believe people.
Love hopes all things. As long as the tie that binds us to Jesus Christ is present, and it always is once there…then there is hope for every person. Jesus never gives up on us and we do not need to give up on our brothers and sisters.
Love endures all things. Even when all of the above have disappointed us, we keep on keeping on. Why do we do that? Because in the end, love never fails. Why does it not? God is love; God never fails.