December 4, 2019
Love . . . does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 CORINTHIANS 13:5–7
Continue to think with me about additional virtues of love. How many times have you heard someone say, “Well, I just say what I think. I tell it like it is”? More often than not, “telling it like it is” is an excuse for rudeness. It springs from a lack of love. According to Paul, love “does not behave rudely” (v. 5). He is referring to unseemly, ill-mannered behavior. Love is not that way! Good manners can be a tremendous witness for Christ at Christmas. When the lines at the store get long and tempers get short, a word spoken in well-mannered love can soothe troubled waters.
The apostle Paul follows this with another crucial quality of Christlike love: Love “does not seek its own.” Another way to say this is that love is not selfish. Our problem as sinful human beings is that we want what we want when we want it. If we would cure selfishness, it would be like replanting the Garden of Eden!
Christmas is a wonderful time for a lesson on selflessness, especially with children. Little eyes and hearts often become filled with unbridled desire as children begin thinking about the gifts they want for Christmas. We all need to remember a truth that Jesus taught: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
Real love is also even tempered, or “not easily provoked.” It doesn’t have a hair trigger. Neither is love suspicious. It “thinks no evil.” What that means is, love doesn’t think the worst. It’s not paranoid. It doesn’t join the society of mudslingers. The person who doesn’t trust anyone does not really know true love. In verse 6, Paul mentions another virtue of love. He says that love does not take satisfaction in sin. It’s one thing to sin, but it’s another to rejoice in sin or to brag about it. Love rejoices when truth triumphs, not when evil does.
Finally, love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, [and] endures all things” (v. 7). That doesn’t mean we should love and endorse wickedness. But it does mean that we will love those who have failed, just as God has loved us.
Have each family member make a Christmas gift list. Collect the lists and then pray over each item. Ask God to show you whether He would be pleased for you to give this gift. Close by praying that He will help your family give more than it receives. Indeed, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Put someone else ahead of yourself this Christmas season and do a random act of kindness for a stranger to show them the gift of God's love.
Take advantage of the related activities and resources at ExperienceChristmas.org.