UPWARD GLANCE: That Famous Love Verse

by Kyle
published December 4, 2012


Read More Looking Up

Read More Upward Glances


People love to quote 1 Corinthians 13:4. “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant.”

This verse is often read at weddings. Most people know it. If you ask the average Christian, “What does that famous verse on love say? It begins with ‘love is...’” they’ll be able to finish it with at least the first half of 1 Corinthians 13:4.

Why? Because it squares so nicely with the post-modern emotional definition of love. “Be nice, be tolerant, don’t get mad at the other person.” (Not actually what this verse means, by the way.)

They might be able to get to the next verse and remain unoffended: “[it] does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered.” I talk to lots of people who agree that self-sacrifice and forgiveness are beautiful expressions of love, but they just don’t know anyone who merits that sort of love. (Neither do I, to be honest, but my Master commands that I love people that way nonetheless because He loved me that way first.)

Long forgotten, seldom quoted and almost always ignored is 1 Corinthians 13:6: “[Love] does not rejoice in evil, but rejoices with the truth.” When the object of biblical love does wrong, the lover speaks up! Real love does not accept when its beloved sins.

In every instance, true love looks at its beloved and finds a way to confront what they have done to correct it, to restore them to the relationship and to oppose their wrong without ever treating them like anything less that a marvelous creation of God.

In the post-modern vernacular, tolerance accepts what someone does no matter what. Biblical love accepts what someone is no matter what they do and confronts them when they do wrong.

This is what Christ did on the cross, and this is how the Christian is called to live their ministry.

"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. . . This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." 1 John 4:7-8,10

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