God wants us to know him as love. He also wants us to know how to love others. He teaches us how to love by defining love for us. He inspired Paul to define love in a letter to the church of Corinth. Paul begins by stating what it is. Then, he begins to explain what love is not.
Sometimes it is easier for people to explain what something is by stating what it is not. I think it’s because we can describe what we don’t want better than what we do want. In verse five, Paul gives simple sentences to explain what love is not. I find these particularly interesting because these are commonly misrepresented truths about love.
It is not rude. “I am only telling you this because I love you….” is a familiar introduction to some rude disapproving statement that demeans or attacks the recipient.
It is not self-seeking. “What have you done for me lately?” is regularly asked by someone who loves selfishly. They seek only to reap the benefits of being loved.
It is not easily angered. “Oh, wow, really!” expresses annoyance by the short-comings of loved ones. They go from 0 to 100 within seconds of being offended. Grace and mercy don’t live here.
It keeps no record of wrong. “Remember when you….?” is the prelude to an extensive list of past transgressions. It’s an attempt to prove that someone’s past makes them undeserving of love.
I challenge us to look at these non-examples of love and identify where we fall short. Let’s repent and invite the Holy Spirit to empower us to love according to God’s definition. Let us be an example of God’s love.