Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Growing in Love #2 - Truest Love

Work to develop true love for others. 
 [this is part 2 of my Growing in Love Series - you can find part 1 HERE]

1 Corinthians 13:1-13
(the theme chapter for this series)

I may speak in the tongues of men, even angels; but if I lack love, I have become merely blaring brass or a cymbal clanging. I may have the gift of prophecy, I may fathom all mysteries, know all things, have all faith - enough to move mountains; but if I lack love, I am nothing. I may give away everything that I own, I may even hand over my body to be burned; but if I lack love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient and kind, not jealous, not boastful, 5 not proud, rude or selfish, not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not gloat over other people's sins but takes its delight in the truth. Love always bears up, always trusts, always hopes, always endures. Love never ends; but prophecies will pass, tongues will cease, knowledge will pass. For our knowledge is partial, and our prophecy partial; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child, argued like a child; now that I have become a man, I have finished with childish ways. 12 For now we see obscurely in a mirror, but then it will be face to face. Now I know partly; then I will know fully, just as God has fully known me. 13 But for now, three things last trust, hope, love; and the greatest of these is love.

   So, first, a quick review of what LOVE really is:

God's Word says that Love is:
~ Patient
~ Kind
~ Content & Satisfied (not Jealous or Envious)
~ Modest (not Boastful)
~ Humble (not Proud)
~ Respectful and Nice (not Rude)
~ Selfless (not Selfish)
~ Calm & Easy going (not easily Angered)
~ Forgives and Forgets & Bears NO Grudges (keeps no Record of Wrongs)
~ Sorry when Others Sin (doesn't Gloat over Others' Sins)
~ Takes Delight in Truth
~ always Bears Up
~ always Trusts
~ always Hopes
~ always Endures
~ Alive Forever (Never ENDS)

   I think you will all agree with me that this is a hefty list for one 4-letter action verb. As such, I believe you would also agree with me that LOVE must be quite an important attribute in God's eyes. God ehorts us to love Him and our fellow man; in the Psalms and Proverbs there are many verse to be found about loving God and others; one of Yeshua's (Jesus') commands to the Disciples was that they "love one another" [John 13:34-35 & John 15:12 among others]. 
   Our Messiah even said that men would know we were His followers is we have love one for another. So, love isn't something we can take lightly - the world knowing that we are Yeshua's followers partially depends on it.

   Loving others isn't always easy. The verse wherein Yeshua says "love your enemies" comes to my mind. But, it isn't always our enemies that are hard to love - if we are honest with ourselves, the very members of our family fall into the "unloved" category from time to time. However, that is where the part of love that is especially "patient, kind, nice, selfless, forgiving, easy-going, and always endures" comes in.
   Some may say, "But, when my siblings are being mean, irritating, and hard to deal with - they don't deserve my love and kindness!" And I couldn't agree more. BUT, think about this - what if God withheld His blessed love from us when we slighted Him? Hmmmmm..... Even better, what if God withheld His love from us permanently for all our countless sins against Him? After all, we don't deserve His love and kindness - wretched sinners that we are. ~ He would be completely just in doing so, would He not? But He doesn't! That is how incredible His love is - the kind of love we must try to imitate. HalleluYah!
When it gets hard to love someone - consider about ^this^ and I'm sure you'll have some re-thinking to do;-)

So, Truest LOVE is:

   The first character trait of love is patience. Interesting, no? A rather hard trait to master, and yet it is the first one on the list of love. Hmm.
   Patience is one character trait the Lord has been Working on in me this year - and one that has (thanks be to God alone) grown in me. God has given me many "patience extension" tests that have really helped with my impatience.
   Patience is such an important characteristic of love - without patience, how can one love? They cannot for very long! If you have patience, you are saved from a world of trouble, believe me. It is much easier to love if you have patience.

#2 - KIND
   The next characteristic of love is no less important than the first - without kindness, there would be no love either. Kindness is essential for any relationship to survive & thrive. We must always be "kind and compassionate to one another" [Ephesians 4:32]

   It would indeed be hard to have love if were were constantly unsatisfied, discontent, and jealous, would you not agree? If we are discontent with what we have, then it will be hard to see through our discontentment and truly love others - because we will be too focused on feeling sorry for ourselves.

   This is referring to the modesty of speech & behavior - unobtrusive, shy (literally), discreet, unpretentious, etc. But, if you think about it - it can also be modesty of dress. If we love our brothers in Christ, we will not don anything that could make them stumble.

   Raise your hand if you can have true love if you are full of pride? Hmm, no hands raised.....One cannot be an arrogant, prideful fool (yes, the Bible says fools are prideful Prov 14:3) and harbor true love for others. Pride is the opposite of love ~ Pride = ME first; Love = OTHERS first.
   The humble person thinks of others as better than himself.

   With a lack of respect for others - we could not get far in life (think about what would happen if you didn't show respect for your parents......or...God!). If you love someone, you will respect them.

   Selflessness goes hand-in-hand with love - and I'm sure you know the reasons why. If your love for someone is selfish - it's not love at all! One really good test to see if one truly loves others is by how selfless, or selfish they are.
   If you are selfless - think of others first, do what would be best for another person and not yourself - your love is genuine. Others must come before ourselves - a hard virtue to master, but, nevertheless, a very crucial one.

   Being slow to anger comes with great understanding the Proverbs 14:29 tells us. Love isn't easily angered - but rather slow to anger. Being slow to anger is a quality that the Bible says our Lord possesses [Psalm 86:15; 103:8; & 145:8]
   Also, I will note that it is quite noticeable if one is slow to anger - just as it is quite obvious if one is not. It is easy to respect those who are slow to anger.

   Mat 6:14 & 15  For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
If you do not [or say you cannot] forgive, you do not love enough. There are SO many verses about forgiveness, Matt 18:21 & 22, Mark 11:25, Luke 6:37, and many others!
   Love doesn't bear records of wrongs either - which means love doesn't bear grudges. Grudges mentally hurt the ones who bear them - and since grudges often show through the attitude of the ones who bear them, they negatively effect others as well. Bearing grudges and harboring unforgiveness within also puts a hedge between you and the Father.
   [It is amazing how God chooses to work in my life! Yesterday, during our Midrash (study) there was a good deal of talk about forgiveness! I had already written the first few paragraphs in this post, which included a point about forgiveness, and I knew I would be writing this section on forgiving soon. So I was thrilled with how God orchestrated this at the Midrash!] 

   I would never think someone loved another if they were happy when the other person sinned and/or was receiving punishment after they sinned. No way, no how! When others sin, we should feel bad/sorry for them and for what they did. AND - we should pray for them.

   If we delight in truth, we will not enjoy "harmless" lies. If we did not delight in truth, we couldn't, in good conscience, call ourselves children of the Most High God - who IS truth! [sorry, that was a little off topic, but no less valid!]

   At first, I was a little confused how "bears up" and "endures" were different, but, my Mom suggested I use the Greek/English New Testament we have and look up the Greek word translated as "bears up". I don't know Greek at all, so I cannot give you the word, but the word means "covers" - but it was translated as "bears" or "bears up". [translations are SO frustrating]
   So, love always covers - or - in perhaps a better translation, "in all things, love covers." I believe it goes back to the verse, Proverbs 10:12  "Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses."
      Love always trusts, or "in all things, love trusts". This means not jumping off tangents and assuming the worst about someone or something. We must trust, but not just anyone. For example, I love my parents and I trust that they have my best interests and welfare in mind when they make decisions that are tough for me to take. Spouses must trust each other and not (as in I Love Lucy) jump to conclusions that the other is cheating on them, etc.
   Love always hopes, or "in all things, love hopes". To hope is not, "oh, I hope I get to go to the mall today" - as I thought it meant until a few years ago. Because, to "put your hope in Adonai (the Lord)" would not make any sense that way. The best way I can explain it, hope is knowingtrusting, and expecting all together.
   Love always endures - "in all things, love endures". Now this is a tough one, to endure through everything! Yes, that is what love does. Yeshua (Jesus) the picture of Perfect Love, endured rejection, cruel words, harsh treatment, and an excruciatingly painful death, among other things.
   If He can endure all that - we *should* be able to endure little (comparably)  hardships in love.

    Love NEVER ends! It should always be there - kept alive through everything. After all, that is how God's love toward us is - and our love should be patterned after His!
   I think one important thing to remember is what Christ said when a Pharisee asked Him....."Matthew 22: 36 "Rabbi, which of the mitzvot [commands] in the Torah [first 5 books of Moses] is the most important?" 37 He told him, "`You are to love ADONAI your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.' 38 This is the greatest and most important mitzvah [command]. 39 And a second is similar to it, `You are to love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 All of the Torah and the Prophets are dependent on these two mitzvot." 

If we truly love God with all our heart, soul, and strength we will do our best to live as HE wants us to and we will do what  HE tells us.
If we love our neighbor as ourselves we would not do anything to harm or offend others - we would do them only good. We would be "patient and kind, not jealous, not boastful, not proud, rude or selfish, not easily angered, and keep no record of wrongs. Not gloat over other people's sins but take delight in the truth.  Always cover, always trust, always hope, always endure - NEVER end"
Thank you for taking the time to read today! I hope this article has blessed you in some way.
For now, this is the last Growing in Love article - there might be more added to the series at a later date, though.

Shalom Aleichem, Chaverim!
(Peace be unto you, friends!)


  1. This was really good! You have an amazing style of writing, ever thought of being a writer? ;)

    1. Thank you for your sweet comment, Summer!

      Well, I am a writer, in that, I have about 9+ books that I have started and wish to complete one day - perhaps just for my children, friends, and family to read though, as it has become difficult for me to find time for my stories with all I am doing now, although I LOVE writing! Every so often, I do find the time - and love every minute I can write!

      I have thought about becoming a published author - but, the prices for publishing one's books are quite high right now. I would absolutely LOVE for others to be able to buy and read my books one day! Once I finish them, that is ;-)

    2. Neat, I love writing too! Do you enter any contests?

    3. No, I do not. But my friends and I sometimes get together and write short stories for fun (or in come cases, long ones).

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. I have a website you might like for writing contest, it's the Young Voices Foundation.

  2. I awarded you!

  3. Hi Mandie! I awarded you at my blog, be sure to check it out!

    1. Thanks! I like your new profile picture, Summer ;-)