Good morning, Five Minute Families. We have all heard the love verses. Even people who do not attend church are likely familiar with the “Love is patient. Love is kind” beginning of 1 Corinthians 13:4. We’ve discussed the types of love here on Five Minute Family before, so that isn’t where we are hitting on today. Today, we are looking more deeply into the verbs found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
The beginning of these verses explain why love is important. To paraphrase John MacArthur: Having a right understanding and expression of genuine, godly love is necessary to fully use the gifts from God or even have complete knowledge of God himself. The first eight verbs in verses four and five are linking verbs describing what love is and what love does. The next eight verbs are at the end of verse five and through the beginning of verse eight. Those verbs are action words. Thus, we can conclude that love is both descriptive AND active.
Let’s dive deeper specifically into the four action verbs of 1 Corinthians 13:7 – “[Love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
“Bear all things.” ‘To bear’ means ‘to cover with silence.’ Let’s look at an example: Parents, shaming your child as a means of punishment and then posting it for views is NOT bearing all things. Do not blast on social media when a loved one has wronged you or sinned in some way. 2 Corinthians 2:5-8 reminds us, “If anyone has caused pain, he has caused pain not so much to me but to some degree—not to exaggerate—to all of you. This punishment by the majority is sufficient for that person. As a result, you should instead forgive and comfort him. Otherwise, he may be overwhelmed by excessive grief. Therefore, I urge you to reaffirm your love to him.” So, in our parenting example, even in the midst of your anger, there is an opportunity to reaffirm your love.
“Believe all things.” ‘To believe’ means ‘to have faith in / to entrust a thing to one.’ Our spouses and children mess up. We mess up. We may not believe in the person themselves because of past issues, BUT we can believe in God and His redemptive and transformative power, and thus, circle back to believe in the person we love having the potential to begin to act more in the image of God. The flip side of realizing that your loved one is made in the image of God, is realizing that you are, too. Do you believe in God to transform you, too?
“Hope all things.” ‘To hope’ means ‘to expect or confide.’ Once we have learned to control our mouths and view our loved one in the image of God, we can then see the hope of the goodness of God’s love in them. We can motivate, we can encourage, we can dream together of better moments that lead to better days, months, and years. In our hope we employ faith in the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1
“Endure all things.” ‘To endure’ means ‘to stay under / to remain.’ When everything falls apart again, and it will, whether it is because something happens to us or we make a mistake that causes problems, we must remain. Proverbs 24:16 puts it this way, “Though a righteous person falls seven times, he will get up, but the wicked will stumble into ruin.” And, Jeremiah 8:4 says, “This is what the Lord says: Do people fall and not get up again? If they turn away, do they not return?” We must keep going. We must endure.
While we may think of bearing with one another and enduring through all things as negative actions we must experience, the reality is that to hold the belief and hope together, they have to be sandwiched within something. It is by working through the tougher times that we can see God in our loved ones and we can feel His hope in all our family experiences, whether it is a norm or storm of life.
Matthew Henry explained the need for all four aspects, with the good sandwiched within in the bad as this: “[Agape love] will endeavor to confine the passions within proper limits.” God created us for relationships. He created us with all the emotions we experience. Just as God gave direction and performed miracles, there was almost always an element of action on the believers’ part.
In all those action verbs of love, remember to pray. Our flesh and hearts may fail, but God is our strength and portion forever. We must pray for each other, pray for ourselves, and pray for the Lord to show us how to love better and better every day.