This morning I was challenged to take a serious look at the famous “love chapter” in 1 Corinthians – in the Amplified version, and figure out where my weaknesses lie. Here it is so you can see what I’m looking at. Clearly, there’s a lot of room for improvement in my love life.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 4 Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.
5 It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].
6 It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.
7 Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].
8 Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].
I found my biggest areas of concern in verse 5 – sometimes I can be very petty or touchy, easily offended. I probably get resentful, too. And let’s face it, no one likes having evil done to them or to someone they love. I mean, how do you not pay attention when you’ve “suffered wrong”?
I can’t stop there, like most of us, I want my own way most of the time; okay, all the time. If I didn’t think my way was the best way, I wouldn’t want to do it that way either.
So, how do I overcome these obstacles to love?
First, I need to recognize when I’m behaving this way. Along with the challenge to take a look at this, came the story of a woman overcoming her vulnerable points and purposefully walking in love. It will take discipline and a conscious awareness of how I’m reacting to the people and situations around me. There’s really no excuse for “allowing them” to cause me to not walk in love. Like the woman who overcame, I need to keep this issue in front of my face. She posted note cards all over the place, reminding her to watch out for her pitfalls and convicting her when the feelings came to behave in an unloving way. (Unloving as in not loving like God wants us to love.) So note cards might be helpful – but I have to be willing to notice them.
I can be stubborn, hence, that part about doing things my way. My way leads to destruction and death. (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25 NIV) I can’t just quote those scriptures if I’m not going to live like I believe them. This is going to take some exercise. I’m not fond of exercise…..