Thursday, October 1, 2020

Love 2020

Thursday, October 1, 2020

 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,  does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked.              1Corinthians 13:4 -5

I feel like everything we knew before this year has to be examined under the lens of 2020. It all means the same thing, but something different when applied to this year's circumstances and events. Love is one of those things that means the same but may have some new aspects. For example, loving our neighbor in 2020 may mean wearing a mask to make them feel more comfortable, even if we don't agree with the rule. Love in 2020 may also mean keeping our opinions to ourselves or at least being mindful of how and when we say things. Opinions are strong right now, and while it is ok to have an opinion, we need to remember that we represent Christ in all we say and do. The Bible gives us guidelines on love and these guidelines apply even to 2020.

Love cannot be adequately defined, but it can be described.  I Corinthians 13 describes this most excellent way of love in terms of what love does and what love does not do. 

The Characteristics of AGAPE Love                                                                                                     Love is Patient – makrothumein (Gk)  This word is used of God and His right to destroy us but His willingness to love us.  This word always describes patience with people, not circumstances.  We often can bear the circumstances for we feel that they cannot be blamed as a person can.  "Patience” is a gift of the spirit according to Galatians 5:22.  Its root is agape love.

Love is Kind - Goodness and kindness are not necessarily the same.  Good things done in an unkind spirit are destructive.  Doing the right thing in the wrong way is to do wrong.  Kindness is most important when dealing with the wounded.  How many have been hurt by those reaching out to help because their goodness had no kindness.
Love is not Jealous - Jealousy is a fear and “there is no fear in love." 

  • AGAPE love is confident. Love sets people free. It does not enslave others.
  • A crab fisherman shared that one never needs a top for his crab basket. If one of the crabs starts to climb up the side of the basket, the other crabs will reach up and pull it back down. Some people are a lot like crabs.  Love does not possess others but draws others. 
Love is Humble - Love does not Brag to vaunt oneself, ... is not Arrogant “...Does not make a vain display of itself, and does not boast.”  “Love is not out for display. Love makes no parade.”  True love will always be more impressed with its own unworthiness than its own merit. Love finds joy in elevating others, not itself.  Real love has a consciousness that it can never offer the object of its love a gift that is good enough.  Love does not inflate our importance but Christ's.  He is our authority and guide.
Love does not act unbecomingly   Love has good manners.  Love's ways are always fair, never haughty.  The Greek word asxemonai means love acts lovely.  Love does not have to use unlovely tactics to win its way.  A positive statement would be that love is beautiful, not ugly.
Love does not seek its own   "...does not insist on its own way." “...does not pursue selfish advantage."  Now we arrive at the very highest expression of love. Our Lord best expressed it when He declared His purpose in life in Matthew 20:28  “...just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."  Love always gives and (let it be emphasized) love always has something to give.  Our world is plagued by responsibility renegades more concerned with what they deserve to get than they are what they are responsible to give.  Love respects the other person and their needs.  Love does not demand that everyone march to the beat of my drum.  There is openness to the needs and desires of others.
Love is not easily angered (provoked)
 - Love never becomes exasperated with people.  Exasperation is a sign of defeat for when we lose our tempers we lose control.  Irritations that lead to loss of control are often signs of personal pride. Being irritable and temperamental display an attempt to control the situation for our benefit without a true focus on others.  Love's right to anger is justified and purposeful.  It does not explode.  Love does become angry, but in a beautiful way.

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