Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What Is Real Love?

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is patient. When you really love someone, you accept him or her just as he or she is. Of course, you encourage them to grow, but you love and accept them unconditionally – no strings attached. Real love allows you to be patient with weaknesses and flaws.

Love is kind. Love is positive and lifts people up, never pulls them down. Love sees the need of others, and does what it can to meet those needs. It’s never harshly critical.

Love is never jealous. Remember, love gives; it does not take. It wants to share time and attention with others. It allows the one you love the freedom to have other friends and interests apart from you. It’s not possessive.

Love is never boastful. It centers on the other person and not on you. If it brags about anything, it brags about the one you love.

Love is not proud. Love keeps you from being “full of yourself” and keeps you humble. You are proud of your partner and not of yourself for snagging him or her. You realize that person is a gift from God, and not somebody you have “earned.”

Love is not rude. Love respects others and shows them courtesy. It demands respect from other people toward the one you love.

Love does not demand its own way. Love thinks about others first. Real love accepts changes in circumstances and people. It produces a concern for the needs of others.

Love is not irritable or touchy. Love is not too sensitive; it does not take everything so personally. Real love does not wear its feelings on a sleeve.

Love does not hold grudges. Love is able to forgive; it does not dwell on past failures. It the Old Testament, a teen named Joseph was sold into slavery by his older brothers. He was taken to a foreign country never to see his home again. Many years later, Joseph became the ruler of that country. One day his brothers came to this country begging for help; they did not know Joseph was in charge. He had a choice to make: forgive and help them, or hold a grudge and hurt them. What would you have done? Joseph said, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good” (Genesis 50:20). Essentially he said, “I forgive you.”

Love is not glad about injustice. Real love does not find pleasure in the pain or wickedness of other people. It does not enjoy finding fault in others.

Love is glad when truth wins out. Real love is based on truth and honesty. The Bible says “perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18). Fear is what keeps us from being honest – fear of what our friend will think of us, or fear of what if she knew the truth. Love tells the truth, even though it is not always pretty.

Love is loyal no matter what the cost. It will always be faithful and stand by the person loved, no matter what.

Love always believes. Love is willing to trust. When you really love someone, you will believe in her, even when she cannot believe in herself. Again, because there is no fear in love, you trust that person. You are able to give yourself completely to the relationship.

Love always expects the best. It will always give a person the benefit of the doubt. Real love is positive, not negative. It looks for the best and finds it.

Love always stands its ground in defending the other person. Love is protective (without being jealous), and will continue to love even when it is not returned.