On Sunday our Pastor asked us to read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 in the context of the church.
In other words – or least how I took his words – read the passage and ask yourself what it would look like to live this passage out within the context of your church family. First of all, these four verses say:
“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.” – ESV
These four verses describe what love is – an action. To love means that you will do, or not do, certain things because you care more about a person than yourself. When we are patient, kind, not jealous, not bragging, not rude, nor insisting on our own way, we are loving. When we are not irritable or resentful, rejoicing in truth not wrong doing, bearing all things, giving the benefit of the doubt, filled with hope, and enduring all things, we are loving.
Okay…we mentally “get” that, but what does it look like lived out within the church body, the group of believers you align yourself with and call “family”? As I have mulled this over…and over again…the past few days, here are a few things I have come up with…
- Love is patient when one person monopolizes the conversation in small group.
- Love is kind to the person who took “my seat” that I always sit in for the services.
- Love does not envy the abilities of others but rejoices that God has equipped them to serve the body.
- Love does not boast about our own lives, but rather brings attention to how great God is and what He is doing.
- Love is not arrogant but talks and interacts with all people within the church.
- Love is not rude but is willing to park at the farthest spot from the door so that others may be closer.
- Love does not insist on it’s own preferences, but joyfully does things differently than you personally might for the good of the body.
- Love is not irritable but is sweet with the people and their problems even when those “issues” seem insignificant to you.
- Love does not resent what God is doing in someone else’s life but celebrates with them.
- Love is being grieved when wrongdoing happens to someone who has been unkind to you and reaches out to help.
- Love rejoices in the truth that God loves each person of your church the same and that nothing can separate you from His love.
- Love bears the burdens of others through prayer, physical help, words of encouragement, or simply a hug.
- Love gives the benefit of the doubt to every person – no matter how many times you know they have messed up.
- Love is filled with hope that God is working in each life even if it looks different than how God is working in your life.
- Love chooses to love others no matter what has been done to you in the past, is being done to you, or might be done to you.
My own heart is convicted by this passage. So many times I think I’m being loving, but really it’s just a more acceptable way to think of myself. I am praying that not only my actions will be loving, but also my thoughts.
There are many more specific ways to love others within the context of church! I would love to hear your thoughts and invite you to share them with me over on my Facebook page.