The “Love Chapter” of the Bible is the nickname given to 1 Corinthians 13, every day if becomes clear that we need to read it again and again. Especially considering the mark of the church summed up in John 13:35 is simply that they will know we are His disciples by our love.
If you aren’t living the evidence of this God-kind of love, are you going to be seen as a follower of Christ? Far too many believers believe it’s ok to figuratively murder their brothers through slander, bullying, bashing, gossiping, abusing, disrespecting, and by becoming offended with them, but that is not the mark of a mature believer. One of the greatest sources of division and loveless behavior seems to come from the tongue, which the Bible tells us is a powerful force for good or evil. Proverbs 15:4 tells us that, “Kind words heal and help; cutting words wound and maim.” We are also told late in Proverbs 21:23 to “Watch your words and be careful what you say, and you’ll be surprised how few troubles you’ll have.” There’s many more references in scripture to guarding and controlling the tongue, but so few seem to care about these instructions from God, but that doesn’t negate the truth of these verse.
Before we speak, post, comment, or act we should always think and ask, “Is this edifying and is this love?” (Prov. 15:28) Far too many rejoice and gloat in the failures, faults, errors, perceived errors, and missteps of others, again this is not the behavior of a mature believer and someone full of God’s love. Scripture is clear throughout the Bible on this, but Proverbs 17:5,9 comes to mind when I think on the reality that we as believer ought not rejoice, talk about, or even proclaim the failures, missteps, or sins of another, this also includes our perception of a wrong they’ve done. The truth is, we don’t know a person’s heart and we don’t know their intentions, only God does.
“Mock the poor, will you? You insult your Creator every time you do! If you make fun of others’ misfortune, you’d better watch out—your punishment is on its way. … Love overlooks the mistakes of others, but dwelling on the failures of others devastates friendships.”
Proverbs 17:5, 9 TPT
At the end of the day, it’s not our place to parade or gossip about the faults, failures, or missteps of another, remember that we who have experienced God’s grace should be the first in line to show that same grace to others we find or perceive a fault in. To whom much is given, much more will be required. (Luke 12:48) I will be the first to tell you that I’ve not always been perfect in this area, but it is my desire to always pause and think before I say/do something I will regret or something that causes dishonor to the name of Christ that I bear.
My heart is grieved as I look at the foolish and worldly behavior so many are engaging in and how they are representing Christ to the world. We must always remember that Jesus is in the business of building and restoring, not destroying and dividing. If we are to be like Jesus, we must lay aside the things of this world — and this includes its vengeance, hatred, division, actions, philosophies, ideologies, social issues, etc — and seek to always build and restore, no matter what… no exceptions.
READ & STUDY:
Proverbs 10:19, 15:4 & 28, 17:1-28, 18:20-21, 26:20
1 Peter 3:10
“If I were to speak with eloquence in earth’s many languages, and in the heavenly tongues of angels, yet I didn’t express myself with love, my words would be reduced to the hollow sound of nothing more than a clanging cymbal. And if I were to have the gift of prophecy with a profound understanding of God’s hidden secrets, and if I possessed unending supernatural knowledge, and if I had the greatest gift of faith that could move mountains, but have never learned to love, then I am nothing. And if I were to be so generous as to give away everything I owned to feed the poor, and to offer my body to be burned as a martyr, without the pure motive of love, I would gain nothing of value. Love is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance. Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense. Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. Love never stops loving. It extends beyond the gift of prophecy, which eventually fades away. It is more enduring than tongues, which will one day fall silent. Love remains long after words of knowledge are forgotten.”
1 Corinthians 13:1-8 TPT
“IF I [can] speak in the tongues of men and [even] of angels, but have not love (that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion such as is inspired by God’s love for and in us), I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and possess all knowledge, and if I have [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love (God’s love in me) I am nothing (a useless nobody). Even if I dole out all that I have [to the poor in providing] food, and if I surrender my body to be burned or in order that I may glory, but have not love (God’s love in me), I gain nothing. 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. 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]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. 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]. Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]. As for prophecy (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), it will be fulfilled and pass away; as for tongues, they will be destroyed and cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away [it will lose its value and be superseded by truth].”
1 Corinthians 13:1-8 AMPC
“If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled. If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.”
1 Corinthians 13:1-10 MSG