What two words, when combined, mean happiness and sadness? Good and evil? Light and dark? Hot and cold? Those same two words also contain give and take, war and peace, and famine and feast. What are those two words? All things. All, according to Merriam-Webster, means the whole amount or quantity of as well as every member or individual component of. Thing, also according to Merriam-Webster, means a matter of concern or particular state of affairs. Combining these would suggest that all things would mean the whole amount of matters of concern or every individual state of affairs. Essentially, any thought, any emotion, any feeling, any action is part of “all things.”
Returning to our musical theme, the last tune on our 3 song unplugged love-themed set (Love Unplugged, part 1 and Love Unplugged, part 2) is all about love’s relationship with all things. For this discussion, I changed things just a little and researched the original Greek definitions for each word listed in the final verses describing love.
1 Corinthians 13:7-8 from The Amplified Bible: Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening].Love never fails [it never fades nor ends].
Love bears all things. Bear means to cover to keep off something which threatens or to roof over. According to the NIV, love always protects. What does it protect from? All things . . . any thought that intends to harm, any action meant to punish. By bearing all things, love refuses to say or do something just to win an argument or fight and seeks instead to preserve the other person, as well as preserve the relationship. Thoughtless words shot out in the heat of an argument are stopped before being spouted out by the bearing nature of love. Looking back at the end of verse 6 (Love Unplugged, part 1), we can see that love does not rejoice in iniquity. When coupled with this bearing nature, it is safe to conclude that not only does it not rejoice in iniquity, if necessary love will take the iniquity, injustice, or wrong upon itself to ensure that another is protected. This bearing nature would never seek to embarrass or disrespect another person. In fact, it will do everything possible to prevent it from occurring. The bearing nature really magnifies the selfless nature of love. (Love Unplugged, part 1)
Love believes all things. To believe is to think to be true, to be persuaded of, or to place confidence in. In other words, love is an eternal optimist!
Love hopes all things. The word translated as hope here means to expect and confide or to trust in. Love not only trusts, it is also trustworthy. It would be safe to conclude from this that love does not look for hidden meanings or veiled messages and because of this leaves itself open to be taken advantage of and often is. (For more on this, refer back to the quote from C.S. Lewis in the section of love not being easily provoked in Love Unplugged, part 2).
Love endures all things. To endure means to stay under, to remain, and to persevere. This year, my high school sweetheart and I celebrate twenty years as husband and wife. At times, “all things” have been good; at other, “all things” have been not so good. By the grace of God, we have endured. In fact, we have not only endured, but, through His grace and His constant teaching of love, we’ve not just survived, I’m very humbled to say we have thrived.
Love never fails. The original meaning of the word fail means to be driven out of one’s course. Love maintains its course by bearing, believing, hoping, and enduring all things. The Amplified Bible quite simply says it never fades or ends.
So concludes the “unplugged” discussion of these ever so famous words found in 1 Corinthians. I pray, once again, that at the very least, these words may cause you to simply pause and possibly ponder what love truly is and if it is being displayed in your life. May your love stay on course by bearing, believing, hoping, and enduring all things.