God is love. God is always looking for the best in us. He does not see our foibles and quirks.
God is not keeping a list of all our failings. He sees us as fully redeemed sons and daughters. God is good and because of that chooses to love us. God could choose not to look for the best. That is not His nature. That is not who God is.
How many times do we have the image of a God who is like us or people we know?
God is not like that at all. May I love like my Father and always look for the best.
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.
English Standard Version. (2016). (1 Corinthians 13:4–7). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
The personification takes the form of describing personal characteristics clear in behavior. The descriptive verbs are all active. They start with behaviors that do characterize love, move quickly to those that do not, and end with further behaviors that do.
What Paul says love does and does not do looks aimed at unloving behavior in the Corinthian church, so that the description subtly and ironically holds up that church for criticism and correction.
- “doesn’t envy” looks aimed at those who envy others’ Spiritual gifts.
- “doesn’t brag, doesn’t puff itself up” at those who do because of their superior knowledge.
- “doesn’t behave indecently” at those men who behave indecently, or think they do, toward their virgins.
- “doesn’t seek its own [interests]” at those who bring lawsuits against fellow believers in pagan courts; and
- “doesn’t rejoice over injustice” at those who take pleasure in winning unjust lawsuits against fellow believers.
On the other hand,
- “tolerates all things” and “endures all things” bring us back to practicing patience and magnanimity and to not getting irritated or keeping a tally of abuses and link up with Paul’s admonitions,
- “let yourselves suffer injustice” and “let yourselves be defrauded”. Because of being flanked by tolerance and endurance,
- “believes all things, hopes all things” refers to believing with confident expectation that in the end all injustices will be righted.
- Love is cheerful with this truth (“rejoices with the truth”), so that in this respect truth is personified alongside love.
Frank Hubeny said:
Good point to remember: “in the end all injustices will be righted” That should motivate us to repent rather than seek revenge.
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May we view others graciously! If God didn’t, we be in trouble!
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