What is love? Most often it is defined by feelings we have. Now we know there are different kinds of love like, divine love, brotherly love, family love and romantic love …However, when we look to the Bible’s famous love chapter, it defines it in a different way. Actually… the way we feel doesn’t matter, we need to show love in spite of our feelings, because let’s face it… some folks are not easy to love! 1 Corinthians 13 gives us the evidence of what the gift of God’s love produces. This divine love (agape) is something we do through Jesus, not just say, or even feel. 1 John 4:8 says “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”
So what did Paul write to Corinth about love? “4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” — 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NKJV)
This kind of love goes against our natural inclinations, because we are to even love our enemies! It’s tough to be kind to someone who hurts you, or not behave rudely to someone who has insulted you. Our instinct would have us behave the opposite, however, when we are born again the Holy Spirit helps us to produce these actions of love — if we make the decision to do so! Yes, love is a choice. Just as serving God is a choice. We make the choice, based upon faith, to accept Jesus’ Christ as our Savior, and believe He rose from the dead and we become a new creature. Though the Spirit leads, we must make the decision to follow!
If we are a child of God, then we must show love. It is easy to love those who are kind and generous to us. The Bible tells us that even the sinner does that in Luke 6:32. But this Godly love is utterly unselfish. It helps us put aside our own desires and wishes. In morally corrupt Corinth, love had become a mixed-up term in reference to emotion with very little meaning. Today, people are still confused about love, and how a christian should show it. Well… whether brotherly, family, or romantic, love is still patient and kind, never rude, self-seeking or easily angered!
John 13:35 tells us “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” Love involves unselfish service to others. It doesn’t matter if it’s your spouse, parents, children, co-workers, friends, classmates or even you enemies — people will know you are a Christian by the way you treat each of these.
I pray, “Lord, help me today to show others the kind of love you have for me. You loved me while I was yet a sinner. I choose to follow you and want others to know I am your disciple. When I disagree with others, or feel left out, help me suffer longer and display kindness. Let me not be rude, proud, or angry, but rejoice more with those around me. This will be for Your glory, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Rev. Cathleen N. Cathcart is pastor of New Life Worship Center in Spartanburg.