The Look of Love

October 15, 2020

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NLT

Many romantic songs and poems have been written over the ages (including even Shakespeare) that mention “the look of love.” They refer to a look in the eye, an expression on the face. But you don’t have to live real life in a relationship very long before you realize that love must be much more than a look in order to last. In his letter to his Corinthian friends, Paul addressed that head on. Remember, he wrote a letter—he didn’t divide his letters into chapter and verse. That came much later as translators broke the letters down for easy location. When Paul wrote, the thoughts flowed directly from thought to thought.  

In chapter 12, Paul talked about the gifts people have been given. We tend to attach much importance to them. But Paul points out that as wonderful as these gifts are, they aren’t showing love to each other. The Corinthians were in a variety of fights and broken relationships. Paul tells them they are focusing on the wrong things. Gifts won’t last. Only love will. He wants to leave them with no doubt about it, so he gives them a detailed description of what love really looks like. This description, if taken to heart, will change your marriage, family, and relationships. This tells us what love does; what it looks like in action.  

Love is patient; it has a long fuse. It doesn’t blow up easily when frustrated or annoyed. Love is kind; it doesn’t strike back. It’s easy to react or respond back to someone in the way they treated us, but hard to respond in kindness. Kindness is not weakness, it’s love. Love does not envy; it doesn’t covet what others have. Envy is meanness of the soul and begrudging the fact that others have something. Love does not boast; it doesn’t show off or try to impress others. Love is not proud; it’s not big-headed. Pride causes division. Love does not dishonor others; it’s not rude or disrespectful. Love has good manners and is gracious. Love is not self-seeking. It lives for others. Love is not easily angered; it doesn’t lose its temper. Love keeps no record of wrongs. It doesn’t keep a library of bad memories. We need to remember the best and forget the rest. Forgive like God. Love does not delight in evil, meaning it doesn’t gossip or love to pass on bad news. Instead, love rejoices with the truth. Love always protects, meaning it puts itself on the line for others. It has the loved one’s back. Love always trusts—it believes the best in people. It’s not naive but gives the benefit of the doubt. Only God knows their motives. Love always hopes. It’s always looking forward. It’s optimism over cynicism. Love always perseveres. It doesn’t give up. Jesus loved His own “to the end” (John 13:1), and He calls us to do that.

  • Reread these verses from Paul and put your name in every place it says “love.” This will give you a quick check-up on where your love must grow.