I ran across this picture and thought it would be fitting for this post. Click on the title to read about this heartwarming story of the love this man shows for his dog.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. NIV
This passage, in past years, has been a little confusing to me. Does it mean that these things equal love? Or that this is the character of love—that it is descriptive of what love is or is not? I like that best. I think love is something so big and awesome that it is hard to describe in a few words. But I think Paul does a good job by describing love in both negative and positive terms—what love is not, and what it is. And really, we have to include everything, or else our love will not be complete; love is not just patient or longsuffering, it is much more. I think it is really all that God is and is not—in His nature; love is descriptive of God’s nature, for God is love. Arthur W. Pink wrote in his The Attributes of God:
“God is love” (1 John 4:8). It is not simply that God “loves,” but that He is Love itself. Love is not merely one of His attributes, but His very nature.
But what happens if I am impatient with someone and rude to them and act prideful toward them? The answer of course is that when I have these things in my heart there is no room for love (or for God). The heart cannot hold true love and unlove (things that do not characterize love) at the same time. I may try to do it, but it is impossible. On the surface it may appear that one who has impatience and is rude is also able to love, however, that love is really not true; this person we would call a fake or a hypocrite.
So how do we get a heart of love if we have negative qualities that are not of love? Do we work on being more loving? Or on getting rid of the negative unloving qualities? Ha ha. That’s a good question. I’m not sure I know, but we could start with prayer. Ask God to fill up your heart with Himself and also to take away those things from your heart that are not of Him—that are not loving. He will show you what to do and will guide you with His Spirit. Before long you will learn to be more patient and kind with people; hence, you will discover that you have the love of God growing in you and pushing out all the things that are unloving and that use to occupy your heart.