Devotion #118

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV

Love is patient and kind. I love the other translations of scripture that replaces patient with long-suffering because that makes the connotation of patient more visual for me. Love is long-suffering. Love accepts that there may be some time devoted to waiting through the hard stuff. We all experience moments in our marriage where we struggle to love well because the relationship is difficult to navigate. For some of us, those are short-lived moments, but for others, those moments seem to be long. We wait and we wait for a change to happen in our spouse, and the time devoted to the wait seem to go on forever. But we never stop loving as a response—we never give up. That’s just never an option if we are loving as God loves us because He never gives up on us. He doesn’t look at us and say, Enough! I’m tired of waiting for you to change! He never walks away. No, He loves us through our struggle and waits patiently for us to change. The love we have for our spouse is to be maintained through the struggle. Love always comes out on the other side of the challenge, it suffers through the conflict, it waits through the struggle so that it can celebrate in the change.

It’s important to note when loving through a difficult relationship that love and truth exist in harmony. In other words, love never denies the truth. Love does not sit passive where there is wickedness, it does not tolerate things that are wrong in the eyes of God to simply keep the peace. Real, biblical love never compromises what God says is true, it never says, “that’s okay” when it’s not. Love doesn’t sit idle when it is witness to wrong things happening in someone’s life. Love steps into difficult situations to help another recognize the sin in their lives. Love is not passive. It does not avoid difficult situations because they are a hassle or they may disturb the peace. If we are truly committed to the kind of love that God commands, then we understand God uses others in our lives to refine us. As people called to live in relation with one another, we must be comfortable with biblical confrontation, both giving and receiving. We have to be willing to step into some difficult moments with each another, we have to be willing to go through some tense and difficult moments to bring His truth to light.

This isn’t the same thing as being judgmental or sensitive when people hurt us. Long-suffering also means we let a lot of stuff roll off our backs. But it does mean that we bring truth into our spouse’s lives when we see them living in opposition to the way God calls us. Sitting passive is not love, being silent is not love—it may be easier at times, but it is definitely not love. Love is being willing to endure hardships and sacrifice a false sense of peace to bring our loved ones into a right relationship with Christ.

But love is kind. There is a gentleness about lovingly confronting our spouse about their sin. We don’t point out sin at the end of a shaking finger, we don’t throw harsh words of accusation at them, and we don’t allow our bitterness or frustration at their lack of growth to impact the words we choose. We start by forgiving their wrongs, long before we hold them up, and we gently approach them with kindness. A kind person is considerate of others, so we consider our spouse’s experiences, burdens, and wounds. We recognize how each of these each impact their responses and their choices, and we gently hold up the mirror to illuminate the blind spots they cannot see. 

Press on ~ you are loved 💗

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