Love bears, believes, hopes and endures

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February 7, 2014 by Chris French

LoveWe sing The Greatest Commands quite a bit. The baseline comes from 1 Corinthians 13.7. “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” I don’t know about you, but it’s tough for me to pinpoint what those words mean. I kind of understand love bearing everything, but what does it mean that love believes everything or hopes everything? Let’s dig a little deeper.

Love bears all things…

Hugo McCord in his McCord’s New Testament Translation of the Everlasting Gospel translates this phrase better than the rest. He says that this trait of love, “throws a cloak of silence over what is displeasing in another person,”. Maybe it’s not a sin maybe the “displeasing” aspect of this person is just their personality or maybe they just get on your nerves. Love hides that aspect of the person. We overlook it. We focus on their good qualities. We throw a cloak over what is abrasive.

Love believes all things…

I think the thing that love believes is the best in this person. Because of our love we want to believe they will change and we act as if they will change. We don’t take our trust away from them. Love isn’t gullible. Just because we love someone doesn’t mean that we’re blind to their weaknesses. We still see their weaknesses. We just give them the benefit of the doubt. It’s possible that the stuff he’s going thru at work and at home right now has led him to behave like this. It’s not a character flaw. It’s an instance of poor judgment. Our legal system says that you’re innocent until you are proven guilty. Shouldn’t God’s standard for His people be at least just as high. Believe the best in someone until you absolutely can not anymore. Love isn’t cynical.

Love hopes all things…

Biblical hope is different than the way we think of hope today. We talk about our hope that it won’t rain this week or that our mechanic bill won’t be so much we have to sell a kidney. You could exchange “hope” for “wish” and you would still have the same thought. I wish it wouldn’t rain or I wish my mechanic would do this for free. Biblical hope is different. If you were exchanging a word for “hope” in the Bible the best term to replace it would to “expect”. Love expects the best from people. We write people off far too often. We don’t expect anything from them. Love expects them to break the barriers they’ve placed on themselves. It expects them to succeed.

Love endures all things…

The fact is that if you make excuses for people and expect the best from them some of the time they will break your heart. Love isn’t overwhelmed by this and it doesn’t stop expecting the best from them, believing the best of them and covering over whatever trait in them that is offensive to you. It’s easy to wash our hands of someone and be done with them. Love endures everything.

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