What Is Love?

In this episode, taken from one of Pastor J.D.’s recent sermons, we answer the question: what is love?

Show Notes:

What is love? According to 1 Corinthians 13:

Love is patient and kind….

  • Patience means you expect others not to be perfect. And you’re ok with that. One of the things the Holy Spirit has recently been dealing with me about is how little patience I have for others’ dysfunction and how much patience I expect God, and others, to have for my own. I’ll think about someone else’s weakness or dysfunction and just despise them for it. But I’ve got way more problems in God’s eyes than they do in mine–what if God accepted me like I am accepting them? Love is patient;
  • Love is kind. Kind here really means “considerate.” It means that love considers others’ needs instinctively; it’s not just happy when it’s ok; it’s concerned about you being ok, too. Naturally we consider ourselves; love considers others, also. 

…love does not envy or boast

  • To not even means that you rejoice in someone else’s blessings even when you aren’t experiencing that blessing and want to. What happens when that person gets the house that you wanted? Or that promotion? Or that boyfriend? When their ministry or business grows and yours doesn’t? 
  • Parents, what’s your attitude when someone else’s kids are doing well and yours aren’t? It’s fine to be sad about yours, but are you envious of them? Do you despise their blessing–secretly wishing their kids would struggle, too? Love is not like that. Love rejoices in others’ blessings even when you aren’t experiencing them
  • How about when someone gets honor or recognition while you are being overlooked? Love delights in the happiness of others even when you are unhappy. 

… it is not arrogant

  • Arrogant means always thinking of itself preeminently. Always focused on its rights and entitlements. Believing you deserve blessings and irritated that you are not delivering them.

…or rude

  • Some scholars translate “rude” as “dishonoring,” and I think that is more of what Paul had in mind. Love doesn’t dishonor a person by treating them like a commodity for the fulfillment of your needs. Evaluating someone by how well they fit into your scheme of what you need in life: emotionally, sexually, or whatever, like cogs in the machine of your happiness. 
  • Paul puts these two together–arrogant and rude–because he is saying that a person of love doesn’t approach life as if life is all about them and it is everybody else’s purpose in life to provide happiness for them!

 …it does not insist on its own way

  • (When you live with self-focus, you see other people as coming into your life to fulfill your needs, so you want to make sure they play their part. And if not, you get angry.
  • Love takes this attitude toward others in your life, too. How many times have you been upset at a friend for not understanding what you needed in the moment and giving that to you?

…it is not irritable

  • Irritable means “easily triggered.” Because self-centeredness sees the world primarily through the lens of what it needs and wants, it’s quick to get angry when you don’t fulfill its desires. But love doesn’t think through that filter, so it is more patient when you frustrate or disappoint them.


…or resentful

  • That means you “keep no record of wrongs.” In fact, the NIV literally says that, “Love keeps no records of wrongs.” When someone hurts or disappoints you, do you drag up all the previous ways they’ve let you down? Some people, when they get angered, get hysterical; others get historical. “You did this and that connects to that previous time where you did this and then there was that time in 2009 that you said this, and your mom told me that when you were in high school you did this…” I know spouses who actually keep journals of the ways their spouses have disappointed them. Yeah, that’s setting up for a good marriage. Some of us don’t do that because we keep it all up here. Do you see how out of step you are with 1 Cor 13?
  • Love keeps no record of wrongs. Past wrongs are like spent ammunition; bullets that can’t be fired again. 

…it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 

  • Love never delights when someone else struggles, and it cares enough to speak up when a friend is doing something that will hurt them. 

Love bears all things…

  • When you love someone, you patiently endure the wounds of their selfishness and immaturity. 

Love bears all things.

  • It’s used to feeling under-appreciated. C.S. Lewis asked, How do you know if your friendship is selfish? (He answered) If you get upset when the gratitude does not come and you give up.”
  • He went on to say, “If you do good things for your friends in the hopes they will see what you do and appreciate it, you’ll be disappointed.” Love bears all things.

…(love) believes all things, hopes all things.

  • Let me put these two together: Love never gives up hope for this person; never stops believing in who this person could be; who God created them to be.
  • “Love believes all things, hopes all things” means that love never stops recognizing the incredible creation God made this person to be, or giving up hope of what God can do in their lives. We serve a Savior who prayed for forgiveness of the ones nailing him to a cross and then raised from the dead. There is nothing he can’t fix, redeem, or heal. There is still hope for this person. And love believes those things for them.

The last quality of love, vs. 7 …(love) endures all things.

    • Again, it never gives up. It can’t. It’s bound its heart to yours and can’t be happy until you’ve been completed.

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