Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 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. Love never fails…(1 Corinthians 13: 4-8).
I’ve been examining the qualities of the love of God for the last few days. Yesterday, I talked about love not being full of pride and the need the be seen. I continue today.
Love does not behave rudely. The Greek word for rudely is achemoneo, and means to assume a negative form, or to act in an unbecoming way. This word has to do with proper social graces. A loving person will not do or say things, or assume attitudes of which later he or she will be ashamed, or that would bring shame to Jesus and to the kingdom of God. Love never acts in an ugly, shameful way, with crudeness, violence, off color language, or anything else disrespectful. A person walking in Agape will be diligent to do what is appropriate for the moment or the occasion. And agape always maintains good manners in all situations. To get real with this one, a person walking in agape will never display coarse or crude behavior in public (cursing, slang, off color language, body noises such as burping, flatulence, excessive or not enough clothing, etc.) Our present culture desperately needs some lessons in this!
Love does not seek its’ own. Agape is not self-seeking in that it brings with it a self-last characteristic! Agape causes us to seek the welfare of others before ourselves and does not calculate what benefits we may gain in return. We become others minded. As Mrs. C. Nuzum states in her book The Life of Faith (1): How many of us, when we have a real right to a place, time, honor, benefit, or possession, refuse to strive for it, refuse even to keep it, but cheerfully, gladly let another have it.
For instance, this quality allows us to keep cool when we’re not recognized for difficult work we accomplish for our company, or when someone else is recognized for work that we performed. It allows us to be genuinely excited when we are passed over for a promotion and some else is promoted with less skill and ability than we have. When Agape rules supreme, we lose sight of ourselves, and think of God and others first.
Love is not provoked. The Greek word is paroxuno and means to sharpen alongside or figuratively to exasperate. It means to rouse to anger. This is when we get upset at another’s actions or words, and we become sharp, pointed, and irritable in our responses to them. Anger stemming from offence is in view here as well. Psalm 119:165 read, Blessed are they that who love thy law, and nothing shall offend them. Again to quote Mrs. C. Nuzum: If I am offended, no matter how much cause I have to be offended, the problem with me is that I have not the which nothing will offend (2).
Remember that we have a commandment from Jesus to exhibit these characteristics. The world is looking to see the Christ in us. Let Him shine today!
(1) Mrs. C. Nuzum, The Life of Faith (Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House, 1928, 1956), p. 85
(2) Ibid, p. 85