“The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” (I Timothy 1:5)
Love is patient and kind.
Love understands we all learn in different ways and at different rates. We all have different levels of education. And while we may have a strong desire to learn and understand Scripture, we cannot all understand the King James Version, or the New American Standard Version or the English Standard Version. As beginners, some of us may need to cut our teeth on The Message or The Voice or the Easy to Read Version first. Please be kind and compassionate while we learn and grow in our faith. These versions are not heretical; they simply provide added explanation while we are in transition from milk to meat.
Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.
We all fall short of the glory of God. Please don’t hold yourself higher than we are because you’ve had more education. The Pharisee had more education than the tax collector, yet the tax collector humbled himself before God (Luke 18:9-14). Please allow us to develop our own, unique relationship with our Lord.
Love is not self-absorbed, nor does it demand its own way.
Please don’t demand that I worship as you do, pray as you do, or subscribe to your religious laws or doctrine. Please don’t tell me I’m not a Christian if… Please do as He asks and teach me to be His disciple, not yours.
“We have made ourselves content not with seeking the face of God, but with studying the facts of God. We are satisfied with a religion about Christ, without the reality of Christ… There is a place that transcends the boundaries of knowledge and dogma; it is a simple yet eternally profound place where we actually abide in Christ’s love.” (Br. Francis Frangipane)
Love is not irritable or easily provoked.
Luke recorded Jesus saying, “If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23) If you have fully surrendered yourself to Jesus, then you have accepted His love and grace. Once you have accepted His gift, there is nothing left to irritate, annoy or provoke you. You have an unquenchable desire to give away the love and grace that overflows from Him.
Love keeps no record of being wronged, tallies up no offenses nor keeps score of the sins of others.
In relationship, do you think the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit choose to be offended by each other? Keep score against each other? Decide one was more healing than the other? One saved more souls than the other? When we point out each others’ faults and keep track of wrongs done, over the years we become bitter and resentful. Bitterness and resentment is grist for the enemy; they can easily be turned to hate, and hate locks out love.
Love does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.
Love and truth build bridges; hate and fear build walls. Bridges help form relationships; walls prevent relationships. Relationships advance understanding and create true justice. The absence of relationships advances terror and exclusion for everyone. Which would you rather build?
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
When decisions are made from soil of love, faith and hope are harvested. Circumstances are seen from a different point of view. Individual lives are given value instead of being seen as a commodity. Differences become less important than finding connections and common ground which lead to peace.
Love never fails.
God is love. When we allow His love to shine through us, in God’s timing others will desire His unconditional love. They will thirst for His radical grace. They will hunger for His tender mercy. But love must come first.
May [you] have power to comprehend… how wide, how long, how high, and how deep God’s love is, and therefore to know the love of Christ even though it is too great to understand fully, so that your heart may be completely filled up and flooded with God. (Ephesians 3:18-19)