Message/Application: I Corinthians 13 is known as “the love chapter”.
It’s one of the most commonly known chapters of the bible because it is read at
weddings so often. We all enjoy the beauty of those words being read.
Especially when we are thinking about it in the context of being on the
receiving end of love. We all want to be loved this way, and it seems like
often we are waiting for someone else to love us this way before we will think
about loving them this way in return. I
recently saw somebody post on Facebook that they were teaching their daughter
to insert the name of the boy she liked in the place of “love” in 1 Corinthians
13 in order to test whether hearing his name there lined up with his behavior.
I thought that was a clever idea for teaching her value, but I wondered if she
first taught her daughter to insert her own name there to see if her own
behavior was in line with what she heard. We love to hear about what love should
look like coming from someone else, and we seem to live under the expectation
that if someone else loves us well first, then they will be worthy of our love
in return. We would never saythat, but we do
that and we teach that to our kids indirectly in our attempt to protect
ourselves and our kids from getting into relationship with broken people. As I
read this I realized that if we turn around the expectation and place
responsibility on ourselves to love people this way first, we
will naturally understand our own value and we won’t feel drawn to someone who
doesn’t share that value. When we value honesty, we naturally expect other
people to be honest as well. When we value patience, we will be drawn to other
people who also value patience. When we value kindness and humility we won’t be
attracted to rude and arrogant people. The problem is that we have all seen codependency
on some level. We’re afraid of being abused or taken advantage of, and we’re
afraid of this happening to our kids. This is because we carry an assumption
that people who give in and cater to the emotions or the selfishness of other
people are loving. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Love is not in bondage
to the emotions and desires of another person, it doesn’t give in to our turn a
blind eye to sinful or destructive behavior and it does not give in to the
selfishness or manipulations of other people. That is called “people pleasing”
and that is motivated by a broken need for acceptance and a fear of rejection.
People pleasers may appear to be selfless but often times they carry a
resentment buried underneath all of that giving or perceived acceptance because
they themselves are broken, serving in slavery just hoping it will make them
feel loved, appreciated and accepted. This is not love and when we understand
the difference, we are free to love people unselfishly and without motives of
our own. We will love people for who they are and not for what we hope to
receive. 1 John 4:18 tells us there is no fear in love because perfect love
casts out fear. This means we don’t do things for people out of a fear of
rejection. We do things out of a genuine desire for their good. We do things
that are good for them because it is right and not as a way to stop them from
being mad or disappointed. We aren’t responsible for their response and we aren’t
emotionally dependent on them to make us feel love and accepted. When we love
like this people feel free to love us this way in return because there is no
guilt or manipulation involved. This is what pure love looks like and love goes
Command: Love unselfishly without guilt, manipulation, need or want.
Promise: When we learn how to love the right
way, we will also learn how to receive love the right way.
Warning: Motives can sometimes be stealthy! We
may think we are acting in love, but our emotions tell on us when we are
actually acting in bondage out of manipulation or fear of rejection.