We are all very familiar with many of the positive statements in I Corinthians 13. We know that love is patient, love is kind, and love believes all things and hopes all things. But I am convinced that many of us are not as familiar with the things love is not.
This week might be a good time to review what Godly love does NOT do.
For example, Paul emphasizes in verse 5 that love is not rude. In the old English version, it said, “love does not act unbecomingly.” Have you noticed that we live in a very curt society where rudeness is the norm?
But real love honors and respects, even shows courtesy. One writer remarked, “You can tell a lot about a man by the way he treats those who can do nothing for him.”
Real biblical love is not selfish. A toddler masters the term “mine!” very quickly. But God requires that His kids focus on something other than their own interests. We are not to “seek our own…” We are supposed to share, give, and extend ourselves on behalf of those around us.
Real love is not irritable. It is not easily provoked. It is not easily annoyed. Rather, we ought to note the counsel found in Proverbs 17, “The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so abandon the quarrel before it breaks out.” Or as a cute t-shirt might say, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”
And finally, real love does not keep score. It keeps no record of any wrongs suffered. That Greek term literally means to not occupy one’s mind with calculations. Instead of saying, things like “That’s the third time this week my husband did that” or “My child does that awful thing all the time,” we are urged to keep the emotional slate clean.
There should be no tracking of disappointments. No reckonings of hurt feelings. God has encouraged us to start each day fresh with His mercy. We need to do the same with our earthly relationships. Love does not keep records of wrong suffered.
There are so many things that Biblical love does not do. This week, let’s be intentional about avoiding them all!