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Love is not a Noun


1 Corinthians 13:4-8a


Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.



Want to know what love is really all about?  It’s not about having your needs met; it’s about meeting the needs of another.  It’s not about being served, but serving.  It’s not about keeping track; it’s about paying the price.  It’s not about finally getting everything you always wanted; it’s about forgiving another for who they cannot be.  Love is not a noun---something to have.  Love is a verb---something to do.
Love is patient.  It means to be generous in waiting, serving and giving someone time and enduring attention.  Love is self-restrained and restful in spirit.  It carries the idea of having hopes for one another without imposing your own agenda.  In a romantic relationship true love is marked by patience.  Love willingly gives people time to become who they are in God’s design.  Love endures the process because it’s good for the one loved.  True love is patient.
Love is kind.  Kindness wants a person to perform at their best and acts in such a way that the other person is enhanced and not demeaned.  Kindness does not harbor a critical spirit or a quick tongue.  Kindness is thoughtful and observant.  It notices the strengths and gifts of another and creates opportunities for the other person to exercise their attributes.  Kindness builds up another person and desires good for them.  Love gently enhances the best in another.  True love is kind.
True love is not jealous.  Jealousy always tries too hard to get what it wants.  Love is not this way.  Jealousy is not conducive to healthy relationships in any way.  It wants what it does not have or can’t have.  Jealousy is out for its own good and self-enhancement and in this sense is the opposite of kindness.  True love is not jealous.
Love does not brag.  Love is not self-promoting.  It does not make itself look better or gain attention at the expense of another.  Love does not seek the spotlight.  It is not boastful.  True love is humble, and so it is surprised by blessing.  Boasting is often based on an insecurity that needs self-assurance.  The secure person knows that love given is a gift of grace and that love received is cause for humility and awe.  Because true love casts out fear (1 John 4:18), there is not need to boast.
Love is not arrogant or proud.  When a person is “full of himself,” he has no room for loving another.  This is the essential problem.  To be “puffed up” leaves little room for another’s needs and comforts.  Love treats the other person as more important and loves the other person as more valuable.  True love is not arrogant.
Love does not act unbecomingly.  It is not rude.  Lovers do not behave disgracefully or dishonorably.  True love does not embarrass those loved.  There is a think-ahead thoughtfulness that marks how we love another person.  Love that is not rude is a love that is considerate and courteous.  It is an attitude that speaks the truth in love---at the right time and in the right way.  Love does not jest at another person’s expense.  True lovers guard the public life of those they love.  They make public praise a habit.  It is something altogether endearing to appreciate another person in front of other people.  True love is gracious and not rude.
Love does not insist on it’s own way.  Love isn’t out for its own sake, its own agenda, its own welfare or its own ends.  True love is the opposite of self-seeking and self-serving.  Love seeks the welfare of the other, and searches for a way to serve and not be served.  Love adopts the agenda that is best for the other person.  Love gives way to the needs of the one loved.  It does not push for its own accommodation, but creates a comfort zone for the other’s life.  True love is not insistent, except in its persistence to love the other.
Love is not provoked.  It does not have a “life of its own.”  Being provoked means to be irritated and touchy.  It is associated with sudden fits of temper and anger.  This kind of attitude creates an atmosphere described by the idiom “walking on eggshells.”  True love does not engender such tension.  True love puts others at ease.  It is in many respects so dependable that others know what to expect.
Love does not take into account a wrong suffered.  Love does not keep track of wrongdoing.  It does not pull out the ledger of life and record what went wrong.  Love does not store up memories of being shortchanged, wronged, sinned against or misunderstood.  True love does not store up ammunition for the next dispute.  Love does not drag up stuff from three years, weeks or days ago to make a point, win an argument or remind another person how she or he has failed.  True love is not resentful.
Love does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the truth.  Love celebrates the other person.  Lovers are each other’s best cheerleaders.  Win, lose or draw, the loved on is the one you cheer for.  True love does not grow from fair-weather friendships.  There is a stick-to-itiveness in true love.  And when things go right, especially after hard work and long seasons of effort, there is joy.  Love, in the same way, shares the pain of disappointment and failure with the one loved.  It hurts to see someone you love lose---even when they might have done things differently.  Love supports the ideas and plans and enthusiasm of the other person even when personal interest is at a minimum.  True love rejoices in the right.
Love bears all things.  The idea here is that love can “cover anything.”  Love like this endures patiently the ups and down of life.  It faces disappointment without panic.  “Love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).  Love like this provides protection from the storms of life.  Lovers offer an acceptance that provides an emotional covering from the criticism and harshness of others.  Love is not blind, but it does conceal what is displeasing in another.  Love does not publicly criticize the other person.  Love protects what is vulnerable in the loved person from all that might be wounding.  True love bears all things.
Love believes all things and hopes all things.  Love is for the other person.  True love responds in faith to the character and intention of the one loved.  Again, love is not blind, but love sees the best possible in another.  Love supports and encourages the dreams and efforts of the loved one.  Love places confidence in the know-how of the one loved.  Love believes when doubt is a threat.  And love hopes at the same time.  Love wants the best, and watches for the best.  Hope is an assurance of unseen things.  Love that hopes is love that watches for love even when it is unseen.  Love continues to hope when disappointment is reality.  True love believes and hopes.
And love endures all things.  Love that endures is a love that stays put.  It is a love that is immovable.  True love endures until it is victorious.  It does not give up.  It overcomes and is not overwhelmed.  Love like this lasts because it does not entertain another option.  The only kind of prenuptial agreement for this kind of love is to work at it for a lifetime.  True love endures.

Love like this never fails.  Love like this is God’s intention for all human relationships.  It always has been.




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