Today I continue the series on the Characteristics of love…
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).
Does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth The Amplified Bible translates this phrase as follows: It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Weymouth’s translation reads: “She finds no pleasure in injustice done to others, but joyfully sides with the truth.” The Living Paraphrase renders it: “It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth wins out.”
I call this the other side of love. Love stands for what is right, and will stand up for others when their rights are being violated. Love will not stand by idly when God and His standards are being attacked. Love will confront wrongdoing in deference to the good of all involved!
How can you tell whether to turn the other cheek or to challenge a situation? Here’s the deciding factor. When others do you wrong, you don’t retaliate. Remember, love doesn’t take account of the evil done to it; doesn’t pay attention to a suffered wrong. But love will hold accountable those whose actions hurt others. Love always puts others first. And when someone is being hurt or unjustly dealt with, love will come to their defense.
To put it another way, when someone hurts me, I take no account of their actions, and treat them as if they did nothing wrong. But when they hurt someone else, I will stand for what is right and step in and act so that others will not be hurt.
Love will challenge the behavior of the alcoholic who is being irresponsible and leading his family into poverty or extreme debt. Love will challenge the person who abuses a child physically, emotionally, or sexually, and will do what is necessary to stop the hurtful actions. I’ve called law enforcement on a number of occasions when I saw that laws were being broken and pain was being inflicted on the innocent. When I called the authorities I was really acting out of agape love, because love “finds no pleasure in injustice done to others, but joyfully sides with the truth.”
I have stepped in and challenged husbands who for many years physically and psychologically abused their wives. I’ve encouraged parents to confront the irresponsible child in their 20’s that lives in the home and doesn’t work. The parents were actually acting out of selfish motives to allow this behavior to continue! They were only thinking of themselves, and not of the needed maturity in the life of their son or daughter.
It seems so mean for the mother eagle to push the baby eaglet out of that nest and watch it seemingly fall to its own death. But if mother eagle didn’t force the baby eaglet to fly, it would be dependent on the mother for life, and would eventually die when the mother could no longer bring enough food! So out of instinctive motherly love, the eagle knocks her baby eaglet out of the nest over and over again, and swooping down catches it on her back just before it hits the ground.
Stand your ground in love today. Stand for what is right. The Lord may lead you to lovingly challenge a person who is harming themselves or others. This other side of love is necessary and so overlooked today. I’ll continue this thought tomorrow!