Studying Love - part two

Before my break, I shared the first half of a study some friends and I were doing on the 1 Corinthians 13 "love" passage. I've had several requests to share the second half, so even though I'm not intending to blog for now, here's the rest of the study. :)

Love is not irritable-- [irritable-- capable of being provoked to impatience, anger or displeasure; easily exasperated, annoyed; responsive to stimuli; provokable]

  • Working DEF of "is not irritable": peacefully willing to continually extend forgiveness rather than living in a state of being easily moved to anger, impatience, and frustration.
  • {Cross-refs: Example from David's life-- 2 Sam. 16:5-14, 19:16-23; Examples from Christ-- Matt. 5:23-24, 45-46; Luke 15:11-32; Luke 23:32-49; Christ's forgiveness even on the cross; His compassion on the crowds always pressing for His attention)
Love is not resentful-- [resentful-- full of a feeling of indignant displeasure or persistent ill will at something regarded as a wrong, insult, or injury; counts up wrongdoing]
  • Working DEF of "is not resentful": does not count up wrongs against others based on my own perceptions; instead, looks to the standard of Christ's forgiveness and willingness to love even people who treated Him poorly
  • {Cross-refs: same as above; this particular facilitator just gave us broad stories/examples}
***One story was shared that was enlightening for these last two points. It comes from the life of John Hyde (a.k.a. "Praying Hyde"). He said, basically, that we should imagine if we were to walk into a master craftsman's workshop and look around. This craftsman's work was known far and wide as durable, beautiful, and highly valued. But as we look around the shop, we'd clearly see pieces of furniture in various stages of progress and wouldn't be surprised. In fact, we'd be the foolish ones to look around and begin criticizing each piece... "look at this one; it just looks like a lump of wood!"... "this piece isn't even straight! What a lousy piece of work!" ... "this chair looks OK, but when you touch it, the arms and seat are splintery and sharp; no one could ever use it!" The point is, that's what we are doing when we look around and get irritable and resentful towards the people around us when, in fact, we are all just works in progress in the workshop of the Everlasting God.

Love rejoices not in iniquity-- [iniquity: wrongdoing, evil, violence, injustice, rebellion, perversity, missing the mark, unrighteousness... rejoicing in the sins of others]
  • A challenge from Jonathan Edwards on this subject: "Do you carry with you, habitually, a dread of sin? Do you not only mourn and humble yourself for sins that are past, but have you a dread of sin for the future? And do you dread it because in itself it is evil, and so hurtful to your own soul, and offensive to God? Do you dread it as a terrible enemy? ... Do you stand on your watch against it?"
  • Working DEF: guards against and hates sin, in myself and others, wherever it is found.
  • Cross-refs: {1 John 1:9; Job 34:10, 32; Job 24:32; Job 36:10; Ps 32:2; Ps 51:1-2; Ps 53:1}
Love rejoices in the truth-- clings to that which is reliable, sure, stable, faithful; holds to divine instruction, true doctrine
  • Working DEF: delights and rejoices in God, His Word, and His ways
  • Cross-refs: {Ps 19:7-11; Deut 32:4; Ps 51:6; Ps 57:10; John 1:14, 17; John 8:32, 44; John 14:6}
Love bears all things-- "covers all things quietly" (Grk #4722), a word related to the Latin toga, english deck/thatch. To cover, protect, cover with silence, endure, bear. "Puts up with all sorts of things" -R. Picirilli; "contains oneself in silence from giving vent"; extending kindness to others as we extend it to ourselves -- C. S. Lewis
  • Working DEF: love silently covers the offensive or hurtful and opts for forgiveness, peace, and kindness.
  • Cross-refs: {Prov 17:9; Ps 68:19-20; Prov 10:12; Prov 11:13; Jere 10:10; Nahum 1:7; Romans 3:23-25; Eph 4:1-3; Col 3:12-13}
Love believes all things-- believes in an ethical sense; confidence in the goodness of men; to have confidence/trust; not distrustful/suspicious; not quick to give up; freely loving without cynicism; "unsuspiciously believes what is not provably false"
  • Challenging thoughts from various commentators: Love "prefers to put confidence in people, to believe the best, and give them the benefit of the doubt" ~R. Picirilli; "In doubtful cases, he will prefer being too generous in his conclusions to suspecting another unjustly" ~Robertson/Plummer; "Love trusts in the redeemable possibilities of others" ~Orr-Walther.
  • Working DEF: unless and until known otherwise, tenaciously and unsuspiciously believes the best
  • Cross-refs: {Prov. 12:16, Prov 3:29, Prov 11:21, Prov 15:3, Prov 19:5} Examples: Ruth, Melanie Wilkes
Love hopes all things-- expect with confidence, anticipate with pleasure, joy, and assurance; confidently expects restoration, reconciliation, etc... even in times of trouble
  • Working DEF: joyfully anticipates what God will do in all people and situations encountered
  • Cross-refs: {Ps 38:15; Jer 23:16; 1 John 3:2-3; Rom 8:19-24; Luke 19:5-10; Luke 15:11-32; Luke 7:37-39, 44-50}
Love endures all things-- perseveres, to remain, have fortitude, abide, not recede or flee, bear bravely and calmly, patiently suffer
  • Working DEF: doesn't give up and keeps eternity in mind
  • Cross-refs: {1 Chron 16:34; Ps 100:5; Ps 138:8; Ps 145:13; Matt 10:22; Matt 13:21; 1 Peter 1:25; James 5:11} Other examples: Job, Joseph, Ruth, Paul, Jesus
Love never fails-- never ends, perpetual, long-term, offers grace and love at every opportunity
  • Working DEF: long-term; offers sure, steadfast love at every opportunity
  • Cross-refs: {Deut 4:31; 1 Kings 8:56; Ps 38:10; James 2:10; Habakkuk 3:17-19}

I hope this is as helpful and challenging for some of you as it has been for my friends and I. Truly, we can never live up to this standard of love; but with God all things are possible. And certainly, with the help and conviction of the Holy Spirit, we can all grow in this area.

Many blessings to all of you... and may God continue to draw you deeper and deeper into His LOVE.


Barbara H. said...

This is convicting -- especially the first part about irritation. I am all too prone to that, with things as much as people (like the DVD player with Jane Eyre in it that suddenly decided not to open any more), and it seems not quite as bad when against an inanimate object, but that irritated spirit is there and carries over.

I asked you this before on a previous post, but I don't want to take that as blanket permission: would you mind of I reprinted this in a monthly newsletter I compile for my church's ladies' group? I would of course include the url to this post.

Erika said...

Thank you so much for this post! I just recently began a Biblical study on love and am currently listening to John Piper's series on this subject. Your post on this is a great reference and it helps a lot! :)
In His grace,

Jess said...

That'd be great. With as challenging as this study has been for me, I'd love for others to have the opportunity to really dig deep into the meanings of words found in this passage. Print away. Thanks for asking!


The White Way of Delight said...

Cute blog! Enjoyed it. :-)
-Emily Anne

Jessica Rae said...

Jess, this is a great, exhaustive list, I say that rather tongue in cheek as I am a bit exhausted from reading it. ;) What do you think, or how rather do you think these concepts apply to parenting? We aren't doing our kids any favors by "covering up" their sin. Where's the balance of bearing all things, believing all things, and hoping all things yet still addressing,training, admonishing and being firm with our kids (especially the eleven year old boys who try us DAILY and are stubborn and seemingly slow to learn valuable life lessons!) I don't want to be irritable towards him or always doubting him, but he in his current "slivery, lump of wood" condition is really, really challenging us. How does an abundance of grace and love (as defined so thoroughly here) work out in a parent/child relationship?

Jess said...

We talked about this on that particular night, Jessica. I think it goes hand-in-hand with the two right before it. We're not to rejoice in inquity... but rather to rejoice in the truth. When we help our children to guard against sin by obeying and making wise choices, I think we're obeying the part of "not rejoicing in iniquity" and helping them to do so as well. Loving doesn't mean enabling... but there is also an element where parents can begin to see a child (or an adult, for that matter) through a particular negative lens -- "he's just a little liar"; "she's always into trouble"; "he is so violent!", etc... and we do them a disservice when we do so. We should believe and hope all things, and bear all things... while teaching them diligently (Deut 6), teaching them to listen to our teachings (Proverbs), teaching them to obey (Col & Eph)... and while delighting in the truth and not delighting in evil.

All that to say, I think we always have to be careful, when we're zooming in on one passage of Scripture, to not abandon or forget the rest of Scripture, but rather to fold it in with what we know. God deals with His children in many different ways-- He offers grace and kindness, yes. And yet, He chastens those (even painfully-- see Heb) those He calls His own. He is abounding in kindness and steadfast love, yes. And we should too. And we should bear all things... not walk away from our kids (physically or mentally)... not blow up at them for being a sinner, just as we are. AND YET... we're to rejoice with the truth and help them to do so as well.

So it's a matter of balance, I think.

And then also, I think there are times when as moms (particularly more as our kids begin feeling their way towards adulthood and independence), we may need to bear some offensive/humiliating/hurtful things (I know my mom did for me)... as they learn how to be adults, learn to rely on the Spirit, learn to interact with grace and love towards others, and mature. I definitely am not in a position to offer advice on that end of the spectrum, except for saying that I am most thankful for the way my parents didn't give up on me in my rebellion and reckless sin.

These are my random and hastily-typed thoughts on the matter. What say you?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this. It is helpful as I plan my words for counseling a friend who has left her husband.

Mary said...

This is a perfect post for me to look at today. Earlier today I was struggling with feelings of irritation, a lack of patience to be exact. is not irritable. Love is kind, correct? Love is never-ending.


Anonymous said...

From Mary:

If there's anything I wish churches would do, it would be to offer training in interpersonal communication.

Once I learned a few simple techniques, my relationships really improved.

"I need to you to do X," instead of focusing on what hasn't been done.

Reflective listening: "So is this what you mean? You're saying that..." and then repeat what they said.

Finally, taking ACTION, instead of complaining when you've clearly asked, as above, and behavior hasn't changed. Leave the room. Stop doing whatever it was you were doing FOR them. Remove a privilege.

One that I'm personally grateful for: When an aunt was caring for a child that was crying, and everything was basically okay but the child just wanted to cry, she'd take the child to its room and say, "I'm sorry you feel sad. It's okay to cry. You can cry here in your room. We'll be in the kitchen."

That way, the child learned it was okay to feel emotions. It was okay to express emotion. And that there are rules about how you do it. You don't impose your loud outbursts on others. You don't disrupt what others are doing. But it IS okay to go through your feelings in a quiet place. When the child felt better, they went back and joined the group.

Anonymous said...

As important as it is to teach and guide our children, I think we can't forget that they need our unconditional love. Probably you know some adults who don't like their own parents, and if you talk to them about it, a common thread is that their parents didn't make them feel truly loved. They won their parents' approval by doing or saying the right things, or achieving in school or some other activity.

I have been struggling to find balance when disciplining my six-year-old son. Yes, he needs to understand when he has done something wrong, but he also needs to understand that his father and I always love him, even when we feel angry and frustrated by his behavior. He is still a small child!

Marshall Rosenberg, who's written a lot of books on non-violent communication, tells a story about asking his three-year-old son, "Do you know why Daddy loves you?" Without hesitation, his son answered, "Because I make all my potties in the toilet now?" His father was devastated to see that his son had absorbed that message, instead of the message, "I love you because of who you are, and I will always love you."

Never having parented 11-year-olds, I probably shouldn't offer any advice to Jessica, but I learned some pretty tough life lessons at age 11 when my mother died, and I wish I'd been able to put those off a little longer. Your kids may seem nearly fully-grown, but they do not have the same maturity as adults and probably aren't yet able to take a long-term view of your situation. Try to be patient with them.

Laurie B

Trinity Mommy said...

Thank you for such a beautiful and convicting post! I needed to read this today!

Anonymous said...

It is very interesting for me to read this article. Thanks for it. I like such themes and anything that is connected to them. I definitely want to read a bit more on that blog soon.

Anonymous said...


Could you please tell me the source of the Lewis quote: "contains oneself in silence from giving vent"? Also, if you know the full quote, I would love to know it. God has used both of these studies to convict my soul.


Jess said...

Goodness, Nicole, I can't. I just did a google search and can't find anything similar... and can't just now remember where I would've gotten that quote. I'll look some more; I'm stumped.