Since Valentine’s Day, I have been describing how we as Christians can become better lovers in every relationship in our lives. If you have not read the blog postings I wrote for February 14th and 15th, I would highly recommend that you scroll down and read those in order before continuing on with these next 6 characteristics of true, Biblical love. They all come from First Corinthians 13 (I am using the New American Standard Bible).
Love does not Seek its Own (v5). This describes a person who is not just interested in their own things, but also in that which interests you. The antithesis of this is seen in Philippians 2:4. Jesus exemplified this (Matthew 20:28).
Love is not Provoked (v5). This Greek word means to arouse or to anger and describes sudden outbursts. This too was a problem in the church at Corinth (First Corinthians 6:1-11). This describes a person who is not always ready to fight or argue at the drop of a hat. This too is exemplified in Jesus (First Peter 2:21-24).
Love does not Take into Account a Wrong Suffered (v5). This Greek word was a book-keeping term meaning to keep a mathematical calculation or to write in a ledger. It was the idea of making a permanent record that you could consult with when needed. The same word is used to describe God’s forgiveness (Romans 4:7-8; Second Corinthians 5:19; Acts 3:19). This describes a person who will not keep a mental record of what you have done wrong to use against you in the future. It is important to note that contrary to popular clichés, forgiveness is not forgetting. Forgiveness is choosing not to bring the offense back up to use it as a weapon.
Love does not Rejoice in Unrighteousness (v6). This is speaking about sin. Rejoicing in our sin can happen in many ways. It happens when we enjoy our sin (Second Thessalonians 2:12). It happens when we brag about our sin (First Corinthians 5:1-2). It happens when we laugh at the sin of others (Romans 1:32). This describes a person who does not want sin in your life or in your relationship.
Love Rejoices with the Truth (v6). This is the flip-side of not rejoicing in unrighteousness (they go together like the 2-sides of the same coin). “The” truth speaks of the truth of God’s Word as opposed to just any truth. This describes a person who wants to see you follow Christ to your fullest potential. When you put this with “love does not rejoice in unrighteousness” it describes a person who cares about your spiritual condition. You know that someone loves you if you can honestly say that you are more like Jesus because they are in your life. How many people can honestly say that about you?
Love Bears All Things (v7). This is a Greek word meaning to cover, support or protect. This describes a person who doesn’t drag your faults in front of others (love never gossips).