1 Corinthians 13:4-7 – “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”
Ok, first of all – if you aren’t familiar with KJV, “charity” means “love”. Charity is an old English word for love.
Have you ever had a situation in your life in which someone you care about doesn’t do or act the way that you think they should? Their decisions don’t line up with what you are expecting. You think that your way is the correct and only way to handle the situation. And when the person you care about takes a path different from the one you had laid out in your head, well, that just won’t do. You get all in a fuss and begin to question their ability to choose for themself. You think they need an intervention.
What they really need is love (go ahead – let you inner Beatle go at it!).
When you love someone (and I’m not just talking about your spouse – I’m talking about ANYBODY you care about), these verses cover them. That means that you (and I) need to invoke all these wonderful attributes into that relationship. Patience, kindness, lack of pride, unselfishness, long suffering- these are the kinds of actions that need to be present whenever we love someone.
But when they are thinking and behaving outside of our realm of what we believe for them, it gets tough. As long as they are within our little box for them, we are good – no relationship strains or challenges. But we all know that no one stays in the box. People are constantly outside their little box we give them to exist in. And that’s where we have to put love into action.
We need to be patient with them, give them space to think things through and make their own choices. And when those choices don’t look like what we think they should, we have to be kind and long suffering. We haven’t walked in their shoes. We have walked alongside them, but to know the real ins and outs of what is going on inside their head is impossible. We have to remove our prideful and selfish behaviors that want to step in and intervene. They don’t need us to tell them what to do. They need us to listen and understand that they are trying to figure out what is next. We all deal with life and situations differently. We see problems in a variety of lights. We view opportunities with unique perspectives. Loving someone means respecting that uniqueness and embracing the time that it takes them to sort it all out.
So today, maybe you have someone in your life that is trying to figure it all out. Maybe that person is going through major life changes or maybe they are just having one of those days. Either way, love them as the Holy Spirit instructed Paul to tell us here in these verses. You may not understand their choices, their problems or their thought process but remember that you don’t have to – you just need to bathe them in prayer and let Jesus take control of the situation. We can only walk so far with them, but He can walk the entire way.