Love is . . .

Published by DonDavidson on

1 Corinthians 13:4-7: “Love is patient, love is kind, it is not jealous; love does not brag, it is not arrogant. It does not act disgracefully, it does not seek its own benefit; it is not provoked, does not keep an account of a wrong suffered, it does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; it keeps every confidence, it believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Greek has four words that we translate into the English word, “love,” and only two of those four Greek words are used in the New Testament: phileô and agape. But in chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians—the famous “love” chapter—Paul uses only the word agape, which is the word for selfless, self-giving love. This kind of love is not a feeling, but a choice. This is love that seeks only the best interests of the person being loved, regardless of whether or not the person deserves such love. This is the kind of love God has for each of us.

This kind of love is patient – like Steve Curto, whose wife, Camre, suffered a stroke and a seizure while giving birth to their son, impairing her long- and short-term memory. So he wrote a book recounting their 10-year love story to help her remember who she was, who he was, and what they meant to each other. It’s working, because Camre now remembers her husband and her son.

This kind of love is kind – like first grader Vincent Butterfield who, when he learned that his best friend, Zac Gossage, had been diagnosed with leukemia, raised $200 to help pay Zac’s medical bills and then shaved his own head so Zac would not be the only member of his class without hair.

This kind of love is humble – like the legendary 19th century evangelist Dwight Moody. When some European attendees at his Bible Conference in Northfield, Massachusetts set their shoes outside their rooms for servants to polish—as was customary in Europe at that time—Moody gathered the shoes himself, and cleaned and polished every pair.

This kind of love is selfless and generous – like the nonprofit RIP Medical Debt, which buys up delinquent medical bills from collection agencies and hospitals for pennies on the dollar, and cancels those debts.

This kind of love values truth and honesty – like Bobby Jones, one of the greatest golfers of the early 20th century, who turned himself in for violating a tournament rule prohibiting golfers from moving their ball—even slightly, and even accidentally—resulting in him losing the tournament by one stroke. When the media praised him for his honesty, Jones responded: “You might as well praise me for not robbing banks.”

This kind of love endures – like that of Max Allegretti, who stayed with his girlfriend, Jillian Hanson, when she was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer, taking care of her and encouraging her—and ultimately marrying her.

John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this, that a person will lay down his life for his friends.”

This is love like that of thirteen-year-old Jordan Rice, who was with his mother and ten-year-old brother when flood waters in Queensland, Australia engulfed their car. Jordan insisted that rescuers take his brother first—saving his brother’s life, but costing Jordan his own.

Most of us will never be in a situation where we might have to lay down our lives for someone, but each of us is in situations every day where God wants us to be patient, kind, truthful, honest, persistent, humble, generous, and forgiving. So let us strive to be loving toward all—love in the agape sense of the word.


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