Last week I wrote a blog post titled Love Is… where we tackled the first two points in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, a passage of scripture that teaches us what love looks like.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
Like I mentioned last week, it’s important to start working on how we treat those closest to us if we really want to be an example of love to the world. There are times when we treat total strangers with a friendlier attitude than we do our siblings or spouse.
Start with your family and friends, then church family and community. Then, watch as your light makes a difference in the world around you.
This week I want to dive a little deeper into the rest of this passage and look at 6 more ways we can show the world what love really is.
1. Rejoice With Others (Don’t Envy)
We live in a very self-centered society. Each person wants to get ahead of the other, achieve something greater, and have something bigger or better.
As Christians, we can’t let this attitude take root in our lives.
Romans 12:10 tells us we should prefer one another in honor, and 1 Corinthians 13:4 says love “does not envy.”
Rejoice in the victories and blessings of those around you. If someone gets a promotion, financial blessing, something new, a great opportunity, etc., be sincerely excited for him or her!
Instead of wishing it were you and letting envy take root, show love and be happy with that person as if you had received the blessing yourself.
2. Humble Yourself (Leave Pride Behind)
Love is not proud. Love is humble and does not esteem itself higher than others.
In a world that is obsessed with image and status, Christians must be obsessed with baring the image of Christ and representing His kingdom.
We aren’t called to care what others think about us. We’re called to be servants and to care for the ‘least of these.’
Jesus was a great example of what it meant to leave pride behind. He ate with sinners and tax collectors, he interacted with the sick and needy, and many times he had no place to sleep at night. Jesus wasn’t worried about status or building a respectable reputation. Instead, He was focused on loving people.
Don’t be too proud to spend time with someone who isn’t in the approved social circles of your peers. Rather, be willing to show the love of Jesus to every person. If that means getting a bit dirty in order to serve someone, then so be it.
Pride has no place in the heart of a Christian, and there is no room for both love and pride.
3. Be A Preserver (Don’t Dishonor Others)
It’s sad how quickly people can destroy someone when they make a mistake. Instead of offering a helping hand or word of encouragement, the gossip starts flying and the noses go up.
Love does not dishonor others. Instead, it protects, preserves, hopes, and doesn’t delight in evil.
Christians must choose to be preservers.
Choose to be a person who uplifts and speaks kindly of others, rather than a gossiper or someone who tears others down. Don’t delight in evil or the downfall of anyone, but rejoice in the truth and hope of restoration made available to each of us!
If you know someone who’s made a mistake, be the first to offer a hand of hope and words of prayer. That’s what love is!
4. Be A True Friend (Don’t Use People)
Love is not self-seeking and doesn’t use others for its own gain.
People are not stepping stones designed to help you reach an end-goal. People are worth more than the connections or advantages they bring to a relationship.
Love doesn’t have an ulterior motive. Instead, it simply values people for who they are.
Choose to be a true friend to those with whom you build relationships. Be more willing to give and invest in those around you than you are to take from them.
5. Be A Peacemaker (Don’t Be Easily Angered)
Matthew 5:9 says, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”
Love is not easily angered. Love is not easily offended.
We are living in a generation of people who are angry and offended over every little thing. There’s not a lot of peace to be found.
We have to be different if we’re going to show this world what love is. Don’t be quick to anger or to ‘snap back’ at people, even when they hurt you. Take time to pray and approach others with understanding and love.
We all know someone who wears their feelings on their sleeve. They cause people to walk on eggshells in order to avoid an emotional confrontation…
Don’t be that person!
Proverbs 15:18 reminds us, “A wrathful man stirreth up strife…” or makes things worse by escalating disagreements and conflict, “but he that is slow to anger appeaseth [pacifies or placates] strife.”
6. Be Quick to Forgive (Don’t Hold A Grudge)
I Corinthians 13:5 tells us that love “keeps no record of wrongs.”
That reminds me of the One who is love, Jesus.
No matter how many mistakes we’ve made or how many times we’ve sinned against God, all we have to do is ask and He is quick to forgive us.
When we are buried in baptism, our sins are washed away and He keeps no record of our wrongs.
When we have been forgiven of so much, how can we hold a grudge against someone else?
Love is quick to forgive. Not once, not twice, but time and time again.
Show the world what love is.
Let’s live out our Christianity every day by digging into the Word of God and doing what it tells us to do.
If the others will know that we’re His disciples by the love we show to each other (John 13:35), then it’s time to love the way the Bible tells us to and be the light we are called to be.