Long Enduring Love and Patience

I Corinthians 13-4-7 4Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.  5It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].  6It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.  7Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. 8Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].
 
Since we have been talking about love, I thought it would be good to go back to the basics of what love really is. I know we talked about this very thing a year or so ago, but it never hurts to reacquaint ourselves with what the word says about love. Let’s start at the beginning. Love endures long and is patient…. I found three definitions for the word endure- 1) to experience exertion, pain or hardship without giving up; 2) to tolerate or accept somebody or something that is extremely disagreeable; and 3) to last or survive over a period of time, especially when faced with difficulties.  So, you mean to tell me I am supposed to show kindness to those who cause me pain or hardship? I have to have a tender affection and compassion even for those who I may think are a little (or a lot) disagreeable? That regardless of how people may act toward me, I have to continue to show love to them even if it’s for an inestimable amount of time? If I want to love like the word says, yes to all of the above! If that isn’t enough, check out what it means to be patient- 1) to be able to endure waiting, delay, or provocation (somebody making you mad or angry) without becoming annoyed or upset; and 2) able to persevere calmly, especially when faced with difficulties. I think I need to work on this myself! If we are going to love, then we can’t get annoyed or upset with people even if they are making us angry.
 
It’s great that we can see that we are supposed to be patient with others, but how can we practically apply this to our lives? First we have to remember that as it says in John 4:19 that …. He first loved us. If we keep that thought in our minds when we are tempted to walk out of love with someone, we will have that gentle reminder that no matter what we have done or how we have acted toward God, He still loves us and is patient with us although we may miss the mark. Luke 12:48 says For everyone to whom much is given, of him shall much be required. Today when you are tempted to get annoyed or irritated (even if you have good reason), instead, take a minute and think of the patience that has been exercised toward you, and transfer that to those around you.

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