“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
That passage hung in my bathroom for a good portion of my life. The bathroom might seem like a strange place to hang a Bible verse about love, but that is the one place I went every day before I left my house. So before I got in the shower or while I was brushing my teeth, I read about love.
I have always thought that being a good person was good enough. That if I held the door open for someone or paid for someone’s meal in the drive thru that that was showing the love of Jesus. And in a way it is. It is kind and thoughtful and those are things that Jesus probably would have done.
But it is more than the random acts of kindness. Don’t get me wrong, I love leaving a large tip after dinner or going out of my way to help a stranger. But by themselves those acts aren’t enough.
Love your neighbor as yourself is the second greatest commandment right after loving God with all your heart, soul and mind. If the top two commandments have to do with love then I think that love is an important thing to understand. That’s why the 1 Corinthians passage has always been one of my favorites.
I want people to be able to insert my name into that passage and all of those descriptions still be true.
“Caitlin is patient and kind. She does not envy or boast and is not proud. She does not dishonor others, is not self-seeking and she is not easily angered. She keeps no record of wrongs. Caitlin does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. She always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres.”
The problem is that while those descriptions accurately describe love, they do not accurately describe me.
I am an impatient person 90 percent of the time. I am kind for the most part but not all the time. There are plenty of times when I have envied those I should be happy for. My pride is one of my greatest faults and I am easily angered. I’m sure I could think of a hundred reasons of how I do not exemplify the love that is described in 1 Corinthians, but that doesn’t mean I don’t try my hardest to love like that.
With God’s help I believe that I can have patience when I have been sitting in traffic for an hour and some car cuts me off and that I can show kindness to those who need it most. I believe that He can help me honor people with how I act and how I speak and that He can calm my anger and so much more.
Love is such a powerful word. It is what we tell our parents when we have to leave them and our children when they make us proud. It is how we describe our favorite things and our favorite memories. It’s how we sign cards and end phone calls. Love is so powerful that it would be the last thing most people wanted to say before they die. Love is more than just a random kind act.
The love of Jesus is what daily saves us from our sins. A love that gives us protection, is trusting, hopeful and perseverant. A love that allows us to be completely forgiven when we have done nothing to deserve it.
It is such a powerful word. One that holds great meaning and I want to do everything in my power to live up to the biblical description that is painted in 1 Corinthians. That is the kind of love that my Father has shown me and that is the kind of love I want to show my neighbor.
Editor’s Note: Caitlin is a contributor to this blog, but isn’t the only writer whose words you may see here. To read more posts by Caitlin or to see the other writers, visit the authors’ categories along the right hand side of the screen.