“Love endures long and is patient and kind” (1 Corinthians 13:4 NLT).
Can you imagine the world we would live in if people operated by the principle that says, “Don’t look out for your own needs and interests, but for the needs of others”? Yet we live in a culture that tells us to forget about others and to look out for “Number One.” What a terrible, dead-end philosophy that is!
One thing we should bear in mind about God’s love is that it is patient. And as part of the body of Christ, our love should be patient as well.
Love is long-tempered.
A verse it would be good to think about today is 1 Corinthians 13:4 NLT, which says, “Love is patient and kind.”
Another way to translate that phrase is, “Love is long-tempered.” This common New Testament term is used almost exclusively in speaking of being patient with people, rather than being patient with circumstances or events.
Love’s patience is the ability to be inconvenienced again and again.
The last words of Stephen, the first martyr of the church, were those of patient forgiveness: “Lord, do not charge them with this sin” (Acts 7:60 NKJV). As he was dying, he prayed for his murderers rather than for himself. This is the same kind of love Jesus spoke of that turns the other cheek. It’s the kind of love that has as its primary concern not its own welfare, but in the welfare of others.
Love is kind too!
And love is kind. Just as patience will take anything from others, kindness will give anything to others. To be kind means to be useful, serving, and gracious. It is active goodwill. Love not only feels generous; it is generous. Love not only desires the welfare of others; love works for it.
If, however, you wait for this emotion to come and settle over you like the morning dew, you may be waiting a long, long time. Remember, love is active. Love is kind. So just be kind, even if you don’t feel kind. Step out with kind, loving actions, and your feelings will follow along behind.
So carve out the time . . . write the checks . . . carry another’s load . . . invest yourself in really listening . . . and lend a hand whether you feel competent or not. And most of all, be quick to forgive . . . as the Lord is quick to forgive you.
Out of their long and painful journey has come a really helpful survival guide, so to speak. It’s a book called Suffer Strong: How to Survive Anything by Redefining Everything. It’s not just an inspiring story of triumph through trials but a how-to book for accepting God’s plan and recognizing His providence even when it feels like your world is shattered.