Friday, June 24, 2011

Perception for Today...Love...Part 2

Today, let's keep gonig on what love is.  I left off last time with the Bible's definition of what love is and what its character is, found in 1 Corinthians 13.  Just to remind you, that passage says:

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

So why don't we go through this passage bit by bit.  Perceptions after the jump.

Love is Patient:  To be patient means to bear provocation, misfortunte, annoyance, delay, hardship, and pain with fortitude and calm and without complaint or anger.  So for love to be patient must mean that if somebody is delaying you, or causing you pain or misfortunte, how do you react?  Do you become irritated with them?  Do you show anger, hate, or malice?  Or do you show kindness and pray for them?  Because, according to this, love will wait it out, and doesn't complain just because you're not getting your way and in your time without getting unduley angry.

Love is kind:  How do you treat others?  Are you rude?  Do you gossip about somebody?  Or do you help others?  Do you lend a hand to somebody in need?  Love will lend that hand.  Love will help out.  I think this one is really fairly self-explanatory.

Love does not envy:  To envy somebody or something is to want or desire what they have or are.  Now, this does not mean that if you see somebody that has something you would like, that you are not loving if you dream of someday having ir yourself, or aspire to be.  Being envious is seeing somebody that has something, and then desiring to have it, too, maybe just because they have it and you don't, or maybe because you feel that you deserve it and they don't, or because you are uncontent with what you do have even though what you already have is enough.  Envy could say, I need to get that, and I don't care what I do to get it.  Love doesn't do that though.  Love would say, I have what I need, and that is enough.  Love would say, I'm happy for that person with what they have obtained, and I am happy for what I have obtained.

Love does not boast:  Boasting is bragging.  It's saying, "Look at me!  Look at what I did!"  It is done to draw attention to yourself to show your superiority in something, and to show others their inferiority to you in that same something.  It's done in a way that puts others down.  Love doesn't do this, so rather than putting others down, making them feel inferior, it lifts them up and encourages them.

Love is not proud:  To be proud is to have a high or inordinate opinion of your own dignity, importance, superiority, or merit.  Love is not proud because it realizes that a person cannot be superior in all ways, that everybody has weaknesses as well as strenths, and realizes that other people are important as well.

Love does not dishonor others:  Love won't lie about others, or gossip about others, falsely accuse others, or degrade others.  All of these things would tear another person down.  Again, love builds others up.

Love is not self-seeking:  Love is not self-seeking because it looks out for the interests and needs of others.  It does not merely look out for "number 1".

Love is not easily angered:  Notice that it doesn't say, "love is not angry" but rather "not easily angered".  Anger has its place.  Not all anger is bad.  It is right, for example, to be angry when a mother kills her baby because, "it was ruining her life".  It is right to be angry when a leader of a country is murdering his own kinsmen just so he can stay in power.  Love is not easily angered though.  It doesn't have a hot temper or a short fuse, in other words.  Do you blow up at the little things?  Love doesn't do that.

Love keeps no record of wrongs:  This means that love doesn't hold a grudge.  If a person wrongs you, but then asks forgiveness, repents, works to make things right and truly tries to never to that thing again, don't hold it over their head.  Don't bring it up in an argument.  That issue has been resolved.  Love doesn't hold grudges.

Love does not rejoice in evil but delights in truth:  Love does not find joy and happiness when something bad happens to somebody, or when a sin is committed, but rather feels compasion with the one wrongs, and delights when justice is done.

Love always protects:  Love looks out for the interests of others, and takes care of those unable to take care of themselves.  It looks out for the little guy.  It keeps others safe in times of trouble.

Love always trusts:  If somebody has been truthful in the past, and you have no reason to doubt what they say, then love will trust that person.  It won't refuse to believe simply because not believing would serve the interests of you better.

Love always hopes:  Love hopes for the best.  It is not pessimistic, but optimistic.

Love always perseveres:  Love does not give up.  Love says, even if it is difficult, I am going to keep loving you.  Even if you turn your back on me, I will love you.  I will always be here if you turn back.  I will forgive you if you want it, at any time.

So those are the characteristics of love.  If you want to show real love, that's how you need to be.  You can, love is always about building another up, not tearing them down, caring for them, being there for them, showing kindness and truth.

That will be all on the topic of love for today.  One could go much more in depth with this passage than what I did here, but I am trying to keep it fairly consise for the time being.  I will come back to this in the next few days for Part 3.  At that time, I'll talk a bit about examples of love.  Until then, have a wonderful day!

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