1 Corinthians 13:4-7. 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.
Paul has said that love is the ingredient that brings value to the Spiritual gifts we are given. Perhaps you are like me, in that, tenderness is not your specific gift. Thankfully for those like us, Paul defines love by its attributes. So, let’s take it in doses. Love is patient and kind, but not envious. Patience is a tool few of us share in our instant gratification culture. Kindness has now often given way to self-service. Acts of decency once common and expected often become viral video today as they increase in rarity. Envious is the one term of these three that does define our “I want” generation. We’ve largely abandoned love in favor of entitlement. We are a nation divided by politics, corporate branding, preference, class, wealth brackets, and ideology. The church is failing because we the people have failed in love for each other as co-heirs, sharing together the image of God. It is not the presidents fault, or the past administrations fault, nor is it whomever you and I view as an opponent. The responsibility to love our neighbor as ourselves lands squarely upon our own shoulders. Jesus illustrated for us all how to love the unlovable. Move forward men, with patience and kindness. Take the time to love people. Give others the time to grow. Help one another in kindness. Smile, laugh with someone, hold a door. Be pleasant. These things make us more approachable. May love for one another begin here, and may God gain an increase from it. We may even find ourselves blessed by our own acts of decency among each other.
A little more on the attributes of love. Love does not brag, nor is it puffed up. We often miss the mark here. With so much of our lives turned inside out on social media today, we brag about everything from a new purchase to our dinner plates. We’ve surrendered privacy in favor of projecting a reality star persona. We’ve managed to create software to help us inflate our view of our self. Filters, autofocus, and programs aid in shading and lighting help us with the perfect selfie or picture to convince the world we’re on top. We’ve ascended to a degree of puffed up as a culture where we are seeing the consequences of our delusions. When reality and truth strikes like lightning upon our house of cards we see the collapse of reason and judgement. Our culture has puffed to the level of entitlement, and when expectations aren’t met the response is often violent, irrational, and even deadly. There is good reason to present all glory to God. God is the source of all good, the perfect example to follow, a lion of a leader, and a lamb of sacrificial love. When we get glory we are in danger of increasing arrogance. We lose focus on the mission and look at ourselves. When God gets the glory He showers us with love. If we boast, let’s boast of what we have in Him. Move forward men, with far less ego, and much more humility as a people of God. We are not here on earth to bring things into our nests. We aren’t here to build bigger nests. We’re here to point to the One who is shelter, refuge, and peace in troubled times.