“It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” – 1 Corinthians 13:7
As this heart season is going to die down soon, we will end the series of reflections about the concise definition of love written by Paul. We have learned that love should be patient, kind, it does not envy, it does not boast and it is not proud because love is selfless. We also already understand that it does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered and it keeps no record of wrongs because love always prioritizes the well-being of others and love delights in forgiveness. The other day, we also learned that love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth because true love means seeking truth and that truth can only be found in Christ.
Now, Paul was nearly to the end of these series of definitions, he then wrote that love always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres. So, what Paul meant by this? What does God want us to understand in this passage? Why didn’t Paul just stop defining love with the other’s day definition that love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth? Great writers on our own time would choose to end that passage like that for it would be dramatic and enticing. However, why didn’t Paul choose to end it like that? It would’ve been nice poetry.
Well, the Word of God is not poetry or in need of something so nice for an ending for readers to be captivated. Paul continued to write and end this passage with our verse today for us to fully understand love. Although it is almost the same, as we read the passage, it comes into different levels. The longer Paul describes love, it gets more hard and complicated for us to grasp. The other day’s definition was already hard to follow, how much more now?
As Paul continued, love always protects. In other translations, it says that love bears all things. Enduring all things or having the mindset of protecting in the field of love is very difficult. This is not merely just protecting physically but what it means is that love is not only limited with what is reasonable or how long a person can put up to. It does not put a limit that you can say, “I give up, this is the farthest I can go with you,” because love always protects. True love does not quit when another becomes annoying or hard to handle with. Love endures all things and protects the relationship. Although it did not mean that you deliberately endure pain either physically, emotionally or mentally, because you can continue to love in a safe place. This also means that even if the others have done something wrong, you are ought to show forgiveness and grace as you reflect Christ’s grace. However, also remember that this definition did not mean to contradict the given definition from the preceding verse which means that love bears all things, endures all things and protects but in the way of the truth, not that you compromise.
Next is that love always trusts. Not in the motive of being gullible but it is by looking at the good side of others instead of looking at their bad side. Trusting is really a hard thing to give for we are all victims of our own fair share of traumas that has given us trust issues but if we surrender it all to the Lord, we will be able to trust Him more than our decisions in life. Thus, as love always trusts, put your trust first in the Lord and then He will put your trust to other people while safeguarding it. In such a way, as love always trusts, it is not on our side that we are putting the other party reliable to uphold the trust we are given. But what Paul meant by this is that love always trusts for even if the other people will try to deceive us, we still choose to trust them for that is love and respect we are giving them. However, if they would break that, then they are more likely to be held accountable to God, not to us. At least, the love we have shown, always trusts and that is what godly love should be, reflecting God’s grace.
Love always hopes and as we know, hope is not just merely wishing but it is a confidence that God will do what He says. As love always hopes, it means that it is always rooting for the victory and well-being of others. Rooting for them to win and for the truth to be followed always. Even if worse comes to worst, we ought to continue being hopeful about everything. Love indeed always hopes. It is indeed longing for the success of others and to be always rooting for them. Lastly, love always perseveres. We all know that a Christian life is not filled with flowers and rainbows. We still have trials and tribulations. Thus, love always perseveres that even in the midst of all the horrible things, it remains there. It stays, it endures and it fights. It is just like love always protects, it will always choose to stay and to remain in there and no measure of time or limited moment that it will just say it’s done but love conquers and love perseveres amidst adversaries.
So, again, as Paul was almost at the end of the concise definition, it indeed became difficult to follow. However, may we always remember all of these and continue to show our loved ones the right love that God has shown us. Although the heart’s day has passed, let us make everyday count and show the people that we love them with the love of Christ. Indeed that after all these definitions, it all points out to one person which is Christ Jesus. He has perfected all of this and thus, He also perfected us in love. He has firstly shown us the real and true love and now, we can already love other people right. Therefore, let us not just show our love on one special day but let us love one another and show to them what real love is everyday. Always remember that the real act of true love also is to care for their salvation, so share to everybody the way, the truth and the life which is Christ. The question now is, are you ready to follow the love meter that Paul wrote? Can you all follow them? You can, with the help of Jesus Christ and if you firstly experience it in Him!