It’s quite easy to proclaim your enduring love on Valentine’s Day, but much more difficult to genuinely live it out every day.
I Corinthians 13:4 says that love is patient and kind, that it is not jealous, not boastful, and not proud.
Those are characteristics that go against the grain of our society. We live in a world focused on me, me, me that feeds the belief that we should get something in return for everything we do. However, God wants me to love people and not concern myself with whether it will be reciprocated or not.
Have you ever had a friend who asks a lot of you and never really gives back? This can lead to frustration, and make you want to bring up all the things you have done for them, but God doesn’t want it that way. He wants you to keep loving that person and giving, to show that you have Jesus is in your life.
How about a situation when you feel jealousy because someone has been more successful, is more well- liked or has received more recognition for something than you have? The natural response is to have a bad attitude about it, but God wants you to rejoice when other people succeed.
In looking at all the things that “love is” in I Corinthians 13:4, it boils down to one word: humility. It takes humility to be patient and kind, especially when the other person doesn’t deserve it.
In order to truly show love, I have to realize that I am not above anyone else. When another person isn’t acting how I want them to, I should ask God to humble me so that I can pray for that person and mean it, and ask Him to show me what He wants revealed in the situation. It just might be me that needs to change, not the other person.
Love requires listening, admitting when we are wrong, and sometimes we might need to apologize even when we think we don’t need to.
How often have we let our pride get in the way of loving others as ourselves? We might have some type of prejudice that we don’t even realize we hold inside that keeps us from reaching out to those facing different trials than we are facing.
Just because we’ve never known homelessness, clinical depression, or cocaine addiction doesn’t mean we can’t help them. I have probably missed countless opportunities to show love to others because pride gets in the way. If we choose to think of ourselves less, our focus can be on Jesus and look at others through His eyes to see their needs. If we are looking at them through His eyes, rather than ours, how can we not see them with patience and kindness?
Love frees you from criticizing and judging others. The more you show love, the more your pride will deflate. It will change your heart.
Let’s choose to love people today and every day.
Passages to Ponder:
James 4:6b- God opposes the proud, but favors the humble.
Luke 14:11- For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
I Corinthians 13:4- Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud.
Contributors: Karen Bromby, Catherine Caracio, Kathy Derda, Kim McClure, Marla McDonald, and Kristy Tolley