Thoughts From The Corner Pew

- Christian Love -

Bob Stoddert

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” - 1 Corinthians 13:4–8a (ESV)

Love is the guiding principle for how you and I need to relate to people and to God. As followers of Jesus, love is our trademark. For if demonstrated correctly, love defines us as His disciples.  But does the meaning of the word “love” today match how the word “love” was used by Christians 2,000 years ago? 

I Corinthians 13 is an exquisite and matchless definition of pure love. Let’s enjoy the subtle beauties of the things Paul uses to explore the word LOVE. Look at the things Christian love does and does not exhibit: Love exhibits Patience, Kindness, Truth, Resilience, Hope, Endurance, and Perseverance.  But at the same time love doesn’t exhibit Envy, Boasting, Arrogance, Rudeness, Selfishness, Anger, Resentment, or Wrongdoing.

As we look behind Paul’s words, he teaches us that, on occasion, we will need to do things that are out of our comfort zone. Sometimes we will need to not do things that feel entirely natural. 

As I write this, we’re experiencing extremely anxious and unsetting times as competing politics push and pull us here in America. A war exists in Ukraine, and a deadly coronavirus continues to spread throughout the world. It’s easy for fear to take hold and control our thoughts, emotions, and actions. The good news of the Gospel is that we have a remedy for fear — perfect love (I John 4:18).  As Christians we have experienced this love personally, and now we have the mandate to share it with others. 

Jesus wasn’t making a suggestion when he said: A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”John 13:34-35 (ESV)

So how can we live this out? We can begin by putting love into practice with those closest to us - our families, both personal family and our church family. But as Christians, we won’t stop there….. because we’re called to love everyone that God brings in our lives. 

 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”