1 Corinthians 13:4-5 – “Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable…” (NLT)
Love is often associated with our feelings so people speak as though love is something that we can fall into and fall out of again. The Bible has a more comprehensive understanding of love as revealed by Jesus. God’s love is spoken of as agape love. Agape love is ascribing worth to others at cost to self. It is a choice of the will to put the needs of another first, whether I feel like it or not.
Whenever people come together consistently, their diversity of makeup leads to being irritated at times. While we want to change the other person, God is wanting to shape and mold us. We are tempted to be short, to be sarcastic, to lash out when feeling irritated by another’s frustrating ways. What we can be blind to is that God is using them to shape us, mold us, knock our rough edges off like clay in the hands of a potter. When we work with Christ to become the change we want to see, we often raise the bar of others around us. We tend to judge ourselves by our intentions, while judging others by their actions. When we surrender others to God, while focusing on growing ourselves, we find they often want to serve our needs in return.
True love says, ‘I value you enough to exercise self-control around you.’ Genuine love has manners attached to it, not demanding its own way. Rude behavior always makes matters worse and doesn’t inspire the change we want to see. While there’s an old rhyme that says ‘…words will never hurt me’ the truth is a sharp tongue callouses the heart and brings death to relationships.
Heavenly Father, my Lord Jesus Christ, help me to focus on the one person I can control, myself. Holy Spirit, help me to have the heart of Jesus: full of self-control, growing in compassion for others’ short-comings, while recognizing my own. In Jesus’ name, Amen.