1 Corinthians 13 (NIV)
If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, 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.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
When the topic of love comes up for discussion there usually are two main parts that are discussed: love and lust. However, there is a third part to love and that is the fleshly love. Now, this is different from lust in a sense. Lust is only concerned with itself it is self-seeking. Loving someone with your flesh does not mean that you do not love him or her, it simply means at times we may love them in the wrong way. Is there a correct way to love someone? The answer is yes. Many relationships fail and many families separate when they forget to love by the spirit.
God tells us that He is love and since He created His children in His image, we too can display Gods love. He is love and we are love, in fact we were made out of love and to love. We all should examine our love. 1 Corinthians 1:13 is a perfect description of how love should be, it doesn’t say anything that is beyond us. We are all capable of receiving and giving the love that is described in 1 Corinthians 1:13.
When we fail to love by the spirit we become overly focused on what our spouse, neighbor, friend, family member or co-worker did wrong. We begin to point the finger, sometimes we are filled with disgust and then that results in an argument or a separation. Too often disagreements and arguments have created distance and separation. There is a healthy way to disagree it is just that we have to find it.
Another thing that God says about love is “love covers a multitude of sins”(1 Peter 4:8). Now, this does not mean that you overlook everything that someone does but it means that your love for him or her outweighs the wrong that they have done. It means I will address what you did but I will forgive you and not continue to hold it over your head. You see, when we love with our flesh without allowing the spirit in to have its way, our love doesn’t cover a sin instead it focuses on the sin or the wrongdoing.
We are to encourage and uplift one another but when we hold someone’s wrong doing or sin over their head it actually does not uplift them, in a way it tears them down. It’s hard for a person to move forward when people are constantly reminding him or her of what he or she did wrong. Its almost like the book The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, because of what Hester Prynne had done, she had to wear a S on a her gown for the rest of life. Now everyone that seen her knew what she had done because she had the S on her, she could not escape that.
That is how it is when we don’t allow our love to cover other people’s sins or wrong doings, it is like forcing them to remember what they did every single day so that they can never forget. What else does God say about love? He also says that we are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Does the way that you love others reflect how you would want to be love? Does it reflect how you love yourself? How much do you love yourself? When loving others we should love them how we would want ourselves to be loved.
Our love should not be a reaction to how people love us; instead it should be an example of how to love in-spite of. Remember that love is stronger than pride. One thing that is stated about love in 1 Corinthians 13 is that “love keeps no records of wrong doings”. We have done wrong in our lives as well and to keep records of someone else’s wrongdoing is unfair. When we love with our flesh we keep records of wrongdoing and at times we become so consume with it that we push people whom really our dear to us away. Of course, we all want to think that our love is true and pure but sometimes it is not. So let us read the scripture, examine our love and then grow in love.
In addition to the scriptures already mentioned, here are some others to consider:
Proverbs 10:12 “Hatred stirs of conflict but love covers over ALL wrong.”(NIV)
Proverbs 17:9 ” Whoever would foster love covers an offense, but whoever repeats a matter separates close friends.” (NIV)