“Does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered.” (1 Corinthians 13:5)
Love never stains its gown by playing in the mud. Love acts like it looks—beautiful. If we are dressed in love, all our outward ugliness will fade in comparison. And just because love is humble, doesn't mean it's not dignified. It can be worn at any occasion, whether it's casual or formal. It doesn't yell, balk, bite or wear a sour expression because that would go against its dress code. When I whine or roll my eyes I've torn love's gown. Too often stressful situations have made me act unbecomingly. The next time you're tempted have a fit, think back to the last time this happened and how it effected others. Did it make you feel any better? Did it give you peace? A calm state may be hard to maintain during a hurricane but an unbecoming attitude will blow you toward the eye of the storm.
Have you ever sacrificed something for someone (however small)? If not, are you sure you have love? We all tend to think of ourselves first, even the best of us. We go to great lengths to make ourselves comfortable and happy with usually little or no thought about someone else. Count how many times you thought of yourself today and how many times you thought of others. You may be shocked at how many times you think of yourself. If our thoughts are consumed with ourselves, how will we follow the command of laying down our life for our friends (c.f. John 15:13)? It's not too likely we'll have the opportunity to risk our lives for another's, but opportunities for sacrifice arise every day. Missing the football game to help out your grandma, cleaning the kitchen for your mom instead of watching your favorite TV show, or staying late to help your boss when you'd rather be resting, are a few examples of the little sacrifices we can make each day. Instead of thinking how to make life easier for yourself, think how you can make your parents, sibling’s, friend’s, or strangers easier too. “Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor” (1Corinthians 10:24).
Paul never said love is not easily provoked, but that it's not provoked. I must admit, I'm not easily provoked, but when I am, I am sharper than a porcupine. My quills start spiking every time someone criticizes my writing, cooking, or artwork. I'm being unloving when I do that. I need to remember that I've offended others many times, even if unintentionally (c.f. Ecclesiastes 7:21-22). Christ had much more reason to be angry than us, yet the only time He ever displayed anger was when the temple was defiled (Matt. 21:12-13, John 2:13-17). Anger is permissible when it's for God's honor, as long as it doesn't turn into hatred or violence. I'm not saying we should stand back while other people are harming us or others. But just because we shouldn't hit back, doesn't mean we can't block the opponents punch. “When we are injured, we are bound as Christians to bear it without malice; but we are not to pretend that we do not feel it, for this will but encourage our enemies to kick us again.” *
“God forgive them, for they know not what they do” is the greatest declaration of a loving heart. Christ forgave His tormentors while they were tormenting Him. How can our hearts be hardened over petty offenses when our King bore the ultimate insult? He forgives thousands of sins, why can't we forgive one? He forgives instantly, why must we withhold our forgiveness for months? You don't have to offer a friend who has betrayed you immediate restoration into your heart—you don't even have to be friends again—but you need to let go of hate and wish them the best wherever they go, even if drift farther away from you.
*C.H. Spurgeon, The Complete John Ploughman: Combined Edition of John Ploughman's Talk and John Ploughman's Pictures (Christian Focus Publications, 2007), 34.
Mariposa is a self-taught artist and aspiring children's author who captures the glories of God's creation on paper. She has a Ph.D. in creativity and a master's degree in imagination.
Aberdeen is a book-eating, ink-drinking dinosaur from the createtus period. When he isn't falling into plot holes or taking cover from the volcano of ideas, he's hanging out with Dee-Dee the doodledactyl. Read full bio