Questions are interesting things, especially those that give you pause and make you think about something you’ve never considered before. That’s exactly what the following question is. It was posed to me by a minister years ago and I’ve never forgotten the way it made me stop for consideration. Here it is:
“If fine china and dinnerware is supposed to be reserved for important people, why do we only utilize it when we entertain guests? Are the guests more important and matter to us more than the family who reside under the same roof?”
While this question could easily be answered with practicalities and conveniences, it presents the idea of why are we often guilty of not giving our families the best of us: the best of our time, the best of our attention, the best of our love. After all, our families are the ones who truly see us unplugged. Staying with this musical analogy, when we put on the facade of our “best” for others, we are essentially musicians using amplification, distortion, effects, and sound modifications to make the acoustic sound of who we really are into something we assume they will find pleasing. Pondering this idea is what prompted me to slow down and examine what love really is and begin this whole series on 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 on, what is considered the day of love, Valentine’s Day. (See Love Amplified.)
For a detailed look at 1 Corinthians 13:4, see Love Unplugged, part 1.
1 Corinthians 13:5-6 from The Amplified Bible: It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail].
Love is not rude. To be rude is to be ill-mannered, impolite, discourteous, uncivil, and ill-behaved. Quite simply put, as translated in the NIV, love does not dishonor others. Love respects others and never dishonors them.
Love is not self-seeking. Love is not selfish. Love does not think about itself and does not demand its own way. Love does not ask, “What’s in it for me?”
Love is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]. Depending on your personal perspective, one of the greatest (or worst!) things about marriage is learning how to push your spouse’s buttons! There’s nothing that feels so liberating as a justified retaliation for a supposed wrong endured by the one you cherish most . . . of course, that’s also the quickest to ensure you go to bed angry at each other and possibly go days without speaking!! Love resists the urge for “button-pushing.” Suffice it to say that in our nearly twenty years as Mr. and Mrs., refusing to provoke each other and forfeiting sensitivity is not something that has come easily to us but thankfully it occurs at a far, far greater frequency than once upon a time. To know how to truly provoke another and refuse to do so is love. This point actually displays how truly vulnerable love is. C. S. Lewis says it this way, “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” According to Peter in 1 Peter 4:8, love covers a multitude of sins.
Love does not take into account a wrong endured. Combining the four versions of this scripture pictured above let’s describe this one as love keeps no record of being wronged because it thinks no evil and is not resentful. You will never hear love ask, “What about me?”
Love does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. There is no evil in love. There is no part of love that enjoys evil. Love grows in truth and dwells in truth. I’ve heard it said that the only reason for dishonesty is fear of not being loved if the truth is known. However, love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear (1 John 1:18).
I pray you are enjoying the practical applications of love we are exploring together. Once again, this is not something we can do on our own. We love each other because He first loved us.