Saturday, April 26, 2008

I Corinthians 13 - Part Five

1 Corinthians 13:4-5 – Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God's love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. (AMP)

Sometimes what we perceive to be acting in love is really just doing what is easiest and has no lasting benefit to lover or beloved, but brings about destruction in the end. When an action accepts the beloved as he is without encouraging him to better himself that is not love. Love accepts the person as he is yet always encourages growth and maturity in the beloved.

Sometimes self-sacrifice looks like what we expect it to – this is what I want, but because the beloved wants something else, I will do what he wants instead. Sometimes it means inflicting pain on the beloved for the purpose of bringing discipline and correction. Such action often requires the lover to overcome the fear of rejection, and it requires the lover to inflict that pain despite the desire to avoid pain for the beloved. Sometimes when the lover disciplines the beloved he also has to discipline himself. (The pain of discipline will be physical, mental, or emotional depending on what is best for the circumstances. The correct form of discipline is the one that will best achieve the desired result in the beloved without trying to “break” the beloved.)

This type of relationship may sound very one-sided, but imagine the possibilities if both people in the relationship were operating as the lover! That would be a very powerful relationship, indeed. Sometimes the relationship will be one-sided, like parents and children, or when a spouse is entangled in sin. But, ideally, adult relationships should be two-sided, and both people should be playing the roles of both the lover and the beloved. This type of relationship is not easy – it definitely requires work, but the rewards of such a commitment are eternal. The offspring of love is love. If you sow love, you reap love.

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