Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
1 Corinthians 13:4 NIV
If you've ever been to a wedding, you most likely have heard 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 read. It is a beautiful passage but needs to be looked at in a broader context. What does it mean for us as Christians; to love all of humanity as God loves (agape). The verse has two positive attributes of what love should be, followed by three statements of what it is not. Let's look at each:
Love is patient! Patience is not something most of us have naturally. We want to see a response now. In having a love for others, we often need to wait -- patiently. Honestly, we may never receive the answer we want and expect. But we keep on loving through the waiting.
Love is kind! This seems obvious, but often we fall short in practice. When we interact with abrasive and rude people, do we respond with kindness or default to a baser response?
Love does not envy! Are we content with what we have? Are we happy that someone else has more or something better than we have? Or, do we harbor resentment against them and covet?
Love does not boast! With social media, it's easier today than ever to be boastful. Just check a few Facebook posts to see. There is even a term called humblebrag that describes what happens when people boast about something while attempting to present it as humility. Love does not boast; it simply is. It requires nothing more than doing.
Love is not proud! There is no room for ego in love. Love is extended from a heart of humility, not out of self-promotion. If done for self, it is not love.
Holding the mirror of Christ's love in front of our face, what do we see? In what areas do we fall short? And we all fall short, we aren't there yet, but we are striving for perfection. Thanks to God's grace, we can come into the fullness of perfect love.
God, we give thanks for the example of your Son, Jesus, who showed us how to love. We ask for forgiveness when we fall short. Please help us to be more patient, kind, content, selfless, and humble. Let others see the love of Christ in us. May all we do glorify you. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.