“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant.” (1 Corinthians 13:4)
Why is patience listed first in God's definition of love? Couldn't He have listed something greater like courageous, faithful, or joyful? Perhaps He did this because He knew we have so little of patience. Love doesn't tap its foot and yell “hurry up!” when their dinner isn't on time. Love is waiting for your family, friends, strangers, and God's timing. If you can't do that, you've missed the first definition of love. Patience may not seem like much, but sometimes the smallest act of patience is the greatest act of love. If God wasn't so patient, the ungodly would have perished long ago.
Kindness follows patience by the heel. Kindness should not be restricted to the needy but extended to all, whether they're rich, poor, happy, sad, friend, or enemy. Your kindness doesn't have to be grand; it can be as simple as carrying the groceries in for your mom or listening to a friend's troubles. I've found family is the best place to plant kindness before sowing it to the world. If we can't be kind to those we love the most, how can we be kind to outsiders? The next time you're tempted to go off and do your own stuff, stop and think about what you can do to help those around you. You might be surprised how many opportunities you'll find if you look hard enough.
Sometimes the clearest way to describe something is by stating what it's not. White is not black, rocks are not pillows, and love is not jealous. What if you entered a story contest and your friend won instead? Would you pout or would you toss confetti your friend’s way? What if your coworker was always buying new clothes while you could barely afford to pay the electric bill? Would your attitude be grumpy towards them or friendly? God provides each individual with what they need, not with what they've dreamed. Strike jealousy with the rod of contentment and you will be able to be happy for those who have all you've ever wanted, whether it's friends, prestige, or money.
On the flip side, while the poor should not be envious, the rich should not try to compel them to be so. Owning nice things is not wrong, but flaunting them is. You shouldn't go on how much your car cost or how cool your new iPhone is when the person sitting next to you is dressed in rags. Nor should you ram your successes down someone else's throat. That's not to say all boasting is sinful; sharing the good news of a job promotion or celebrating your first book sale with friends is nothing shameful. They're happy to hear of your good fortune just as you are happy to hear about theirs. It's the when, where, who, and how of your boasting that determines whether or not it's sinful.
Ironically, love loves everyone except itself. Arrogant people cannot love others because they are too busy loving themselves. Christ is a brilliant example of humble love. Even though everyone was beneath Him, but He did not treat them so. He didn't play favorites and neither should we. He ate with sinners (Matthew 9:10) as well as rabbis (Luke 7:36). In one chapter, He converses with a respected ruler (John 3:1-21), and in the next with a social outcast (4:7-26). Surely if Jesus stooped to wash His disciples feet, surely we can stoop to wash our fellow man's!
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