Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:6-8
This passage tells us the way of our Christian life and walk. This passage is our template on how we must behave toward one another both inside and outside our church. As Christians, we imitate Christ and work within His parameters of love. This passage is a character description of Christ, and must also be the character description of us and how we should act and behave responsibly.
When God tells us that love is patient, He means we are to give others room to grow and time to accomplish the work that God is doing in them. When someone is abrupt with us or someone treats us wrongly, we are called be patient, because we cannot have everything our way all the time, right now. We cannot allow ourselves to become angry when others fail our expectations. Because God is patient with us and loves us, we are to show patience with others. We need to be content and not become angry, for this is love.
In the Church, love is never to give up. Imagine what this mindset could do for your church!
When God tells us that love is kind, He means we are to look for the best in other people. We need to spend our energies and time encouraging and building one another up, not tearing them down. You see, God takes the circumstances of our lives and builds them in a constructive way for personal growth and for the better, and then we can use the love toward one another. God is not treating us as objects to be manipulated and controlled because He has given us free will, so we should do the same with one another. We always need to be seeking the healing of relationships, and be cautious in our judgments toward others.
In the Church, love cares more about others than it does for self. Imagine what this mindset could do for your church!
When God tells us that love does not envy, He means we need to be happy about who we are. When we hear that a friend at church receives a promotion before we do, we are to be happy for them. If we have a sibling who excels more than we do, we should be happy for him/her. If our neighbor has a brand-new car, we should be happy for him, and be thankful for the old wreck that we drive. We are to be happy for someone who has something we don't have, even if we don't like it. We do not become possessive and a control freak, especially in other peoples' situations or in our relationships. Being possessive and controlling of others will destroy a church very quickly, or at the very least, neuter its effectiveness.
In the Church, love does not desire that which it does not have. Imagine what this mindset could do for your church!
When God tells us that love does not boast, He means we are not to go around bragging about our accomplishments and abilities. We are not to show off our possessions, or be condescending to those either in or outside of our church who do not have such things. We are not to be so full of our accomplishments that we fail to see what others have accomplished too. Because God loves us so much, we should have no need to impress one another, but allow God to impress us with His greatness because He is God and we are not. We can relax and enjoy who we are in Christ; we do not have to be in control or be the life of the party to feel secure.
In the Church, love does not strut around. Imagine what this mindset could do for your church!
When God tells us that love is not proud, He means we must be willing to be in relationships with all kinds of people, especially those outside our perceived culture and race. We are not to let our fears hold us back from one of life's most precious gifts: friendship. Not being proud means that when we make a mistake, we own up to it and admit that we are wrong, even if we might feel we are not. Because God loves us, He is on our side, and wants us to grow and mature in His love. We do not need to have an inflated ego about our perceived importance of self. We need to seek others first and their well being, not our arrogance and egocentric mentality.
In the Church, love does not parade itself. Imagine what this mindset could do for your church!
When God tells us that love is not rude, He means that we are to treat others with the respect and dignity we would enjoy in return. Because God loved us, He sent his Son to cover us and protect us from His wrath; thus when we make the mistakes that we do, even the big mistakes, we are not zapped by lightning bolts. In return, we should not go around zapping others with evil looks and condescending comments, thinking that we are high and mighty and better than everyone else. Never think of yourself as the capstone and the most important piece in the church, because you're not, even if you are the founder and pastor. We should be grateful that God uses us; our goal is to work together; and not be little dictators.
In the Church, love does not force itself. Imagine what this mindset could do for your church!
When God tells us that love is not self-seeking, He means that we place others first and not ourselves. We are to be considerate and appreciative to one another, not critical, and dignified as good manners would dictate. Because God loved us so much, He did not have a self-seeking attitude, for if He had, He would never have sent His Son on our behalf. Every Christian must respect the rights and dignity of other people and never force our will and thoughtless behaviors on others. We need to be happy when others around us experience success and growth, and never be jealous.
In the Church, love does not have a "me first" attitude. Imagine what this mindset could do for your church!
When God tells us that love is not easily angered, He means just that! We are to be very slow to get angry, and not let little things cause us to "fly off the handle." Because God loved us so much, He did not allow His anger to wipe us out of existence when we deserved it; instead, He allowed His drama of redemption to unfold throughout history, climaxing with Christ. We need to try to understand other people, and place ourselves in one another's shoes both inside and outside of our church. We need to listen and not allow our hostile feelings to get the best of us. Since God is patiently working in us, we should reciprocate with the understanding of the debt we have to God and the unfathomable love and concern He has for us.
In the Church, love is not touchy, resentful, or ready to "fly off the handle." Imagine what this mindset could do in your church!
When God tells us that love keeps no record of wrongs, He means we do not go around with a list, writing down the faults of one another. Rather, we are to look for the positive things that happen in our relationships and affirm people. We do not go around with a negative attitude, but with one that is positive and equipping to God's people. Because God loves us so much, He does not keep a scorecard of our sins as long as we honestly repent from them. We do not need to reflect and gossip about the flaws of other people so as to elevate ourselves, when God refuses to do it to us.
In the Church, love does not keep a scorecard. Imagine what this mindset could do for your church!
When God tells us that love does not delight in evil, He means we do not enjoy it when bad things happen to others. Not only do we not enjoy doing bad things to one another, but we refuse to allow evil to happen. We should feel badly when we see others being hurt. Compassion is one of God's great characteristics, and we should strive to the best of our efforts to model it to one another. Because God loves us so much, He is deeply grieved when we do not follow His example and His will. We are not to put others down just to make us feel good about ourselves.
In the Church, love does not delight in evil. Imagine what this mindset could do for your church!
When God tells us that love rejoices in truth, He means when we see injustice corrected, and people treating others with respect, kindness, and honesty, we should feel wonderful. Because God loves us so much, we should live our lives inside or outside of our church so that it reflects a God of truth and justice. Thus, we should find delight when we see justice being played out in others. As Christians, we should get excited when justice prevails, and we should be mad and do something when injustice occurs and people's rights are violated. We should realize how much God rejoices when we personally stand up to the pressures of life and prevail with integrity and truth.
In the Church, love takes pleasure in truth. Imagine what this mindset could do for your church!
When God tells us that love always protects, He means we should feel protected and in return protect those around us. This does not mean we become security guards; it means our actions and attitudes are such that they project protection, and not destruction. Because God loves us so much, He does not forsake us, even though others may. People will always disappoint us, and we will always be disappointing to those around us, but God will never disappoint us. Love perseveres, and is the easier route than running off and abandoning our relationships. We should realize how much God grieves when we fail to walk our lives on His path, and when we do not trust His protection.
In the Church, love is always on the lookout and has staying power. Imagine what this mindset could do for your church!
When God tells us that love always hopes, then we should be assured He will give us a future. We should be assured that even when things are going badly, they will always get better, and that there is hope because our circumstances will always change. We should never lose hope. Because God loves us so much, He always has hope for us. God is patiently working in us, and when we understand what God has truly done for us, we should have as much hope as we could ever need. We should see the potential in other people, what they can accomplish and become, and not hold them back out of our jealousy.
In the Church, love always is enduring and points to the future. Imagine what this mindset could do for your church!
When God tells us that love always perseveres, He means for us to hang in there and keep going strong. Because God loves us so much, He will stand with us, and even carry us through our difficulties and strife. Even when we feel we've reached rock bottom, have no hope, and are filled with despair, God is carrying us, because He loves us. This is the love that will destroy rumors and gossip and cause us to believe the best about one another until proven otherwise by facts.
In the Church, love refuses to quit. Imagine what this mindset could do for your church!
© 1999, Richard J. Krejcir, Ph.D. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership, www.churchleadership.org