1Corinthians 13:4- 7 "4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."
A little while ago, I kind of spoke to what love being patient means to me, and I'm thinking that I kind of want to make an exploration of love - based on these few verses - a little blog series.
So, next on the list is, "Love is kind", but I think that kind of mushes into love being patient and all of the other definitions in these verses. Kindness meaning loving in a friendly, generous, and warm hearted nature. Jeremy Taylor said once, "Love is friendship set on fire." I think that's about as accurate as I can get by what I mean by a kind love.
Since "kind" doesn't seem to have a lot of room to explore, I think we should move right along to, "It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud."
"Envy: A painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage.
Boast: 1). To speak of or assert with excessive pride.
2). To possess and often call attention to (something that is a source of pride) <boasts a new stadium>
Proud: Feeling or showing pride as having or displaying excessive self-esteem.
[Merriam - Webster]
So if a real, true, pure, holy love doesn't do any of these things, then what would a whole and Godly love look like? Because the love I see going around today generally doesn't fit this mold well.
What I see today doesn't last very long - actually it last exactly the same length of time as it takes for one or both halves to get bored, or hurt, or to feel unneeded, or scared, or selfish. [I'm not trying to be dramatic here, I'm trying to observe the things I see that don't quite fit right].
What it seems our culture is wading through right now is this attitude of, "When you stop making me feel good, or you hurt my feelings, or I decide you're boring, or maybe you're not filling my need anymore, or maybe I'm just tired of having to fit another person into the equation, as soon as that happens, I'll drop you."
It's heart breaking.
Remember when you were in middle school, or even high school? The relationships we saw around us, or maybe that we were involved in, typically weren't made of lasting stuff. A long relationship then was a month. That mentality appears to have somehow clung onto our heels and has followed us into adulthood. "How can this relationship serve me? What can I get out of it?"
But if real love doesn't envy, then it doesn't feel the need to be jealous of anything my significant other has. Friends, money, attention, etc. And then it has to work the other way, I shouldn't feel envy over the things they give to others either. If he's paying attention to another woman, and I know he loves me, it shouldn't matter. It shouldn't spark that deep insecurity, that gnawing at our cores. [I know there is something to be said for intuition, sometimes that gut feeling is right and maybe what seemed to be a simple conversation doesn't turn out as innocently as it appeared. But then that wouldn't be a pure love anyhow. And I know we ALL have our struggles. Sometimes the smallest things can set a flame to an insecurity we thought we buried long ago, I get that. But if it's a pure, honest love, then those things shouldn't, ideally, be the first things that jump to mind]
Love doesn't look for what it doesn't give me, it looks for what I can give.
"It does not boast", it doesn't flaunt, it doesn't say, "Look at me! I have a boyfriend!" It doesn't say that I have worth because I have a guy looking at me. I don't think this means that we're not supposed to be happy about it and share our joy with others. If it is truly a selfless love, then, in my experience, people tend to want to know about it. I know that there's nosy people who always want to know everyone's business, and then there's that "mushy" stuff that I don't think anyone outside of the relationship actually wants to hear/see =P. But I think that if it's a solid love, other people kind of glean some joy from the others' happiness. I think that might be what not boasting your love means. That we don't have to shout it from the rooftops for attention or for validation, but that we simply enjoy it. We just love it =P.
Anyone who thinks their relationship is perfect is just so out of the loop. No one person is perfect, then put two people together trying to know each other more than any one else, that's a recipe for a whole lot of mess. Anyone who thinks their significant other is perfect is probably in for a nasty surprise. BUT together, the two should make something beautiful, something powerful. I think that to be confident in this is so different than to be proud! Pride says, "I can, I am, I will". Confidence says, "We can, God is, We will" There is that ordained thing, that blessing I guess, that gives married couples after the heart of God just so much authority. That union, when used the way [I think] it way created to be, is something to reckon with.
Like I mentioned in my first entry about this, I'm 22. Never had a boyfriend, never been in a relationship. I know nothing - but I see a lot. I see what works and I see what fails. I think that's actually what took me so long to decide to write this, the fact that I really have little to no experience in the matter. But the heart doesn't need to be broken to know how to love. My heart breaks for the kids I see every day who are growing up with one parent, for some that's lucky. Some live with uncles or grandparents, or are in the foster system. That's not to demean those relatives or foster families at all! Anyone who is willing to step up and raise a child well is pretty awesome in my book. But kids NEED their parents. We all need that, and to grow up and develop without them alters our entire lives.
I think that's mainly where my interest in this whole thing is coming from. I'm not in a rush to get married, not even to jump into a relationship, but I am in a rush to see the family dynamic restored in the lives of kids. I am in a rush to see the institution of marriage return to what it was meant to be - safe and strong. That is what I want to be to my kids and for them to be to theirs. I want to continue the chain through the generations, and I want it to be an epidemic. I want to see families flourish. And THAT is why I want to know the breakdown [as much as one can] of love. I just want to give it my best shot, because I want to be able to give my marriage and my children their best shot. And I want to see my generation and the ones following try and do the same.