Chapter 13:4-7 (ESV) - Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Question to consider: What does Paul mean that love rejoices with the truth?
Jesus said to the disciples, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35) This was after Jesus washed the feet of the twelve, including His betrayer, Judas. The greatest among them had become a servant to all. The original command given by God which was captured in the second table of the Law was, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus’ command for the New Covenant went beyond our self-love to Christ’s sacrificial love. So not only do we refrain from lying about our neighbor, we should go out of our way to protect the reputation of our neighbor even if it means people will hate us for it. Where the old command told us to not murder, Jesus commanded us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.
Paul took Jesus' command to love in this passage and beautifully defined what it should look like in the church. People often use this passage in weddings to encourage the love of husband and wife to transcend feelings and emotions. This is a very good use of the passage, but we should not forget that the only bride to which Paul was referring was Christ’s bride, the church.
Instead of separating from those we don’t like or disagree with, we strive for patience and kindness. With respect to one’s Spiritual gifts or finances, there is no room for boasting or envy. It’s the worship of self which causes arrogance, rudeness, irritation and resentment, not the worship of Christ.
We live in a world that thinks the highest order is personal happiness. Love is viewed in terms of acceptance of one’s behavior regardless of whether God has forbidden it. Paul, however, says true love does not affirm someone in their wrongdoing but rejoices in the truth, for love wants what is absolutely best for another person which is a right relationship with God.
If we rejoice in the truth, we will face the scorn of many, but we love each other enough to endure all things and bear all things and maintain hope that people will turn from sin and cling to Christ for their salvation. This is a passage which cuts us to the core because we know we often fall short of this definition of Christ’s love. But one truth in which we can rejoice is the truth that Christ died for this sin as well.
Lord Jesus Christ, we are thankful that You have not only demonstrated this love for us but have given us Your Spirit which daily brings us closer to this kind of love for one another. Please forgive us where we fall short and encourage us to endure and always keep before us the hope of eternal life. Amen.