The following is an expanded interpretive translation of First Corinthians 13:4-8 from Sparkling Gems From the Greek by Rick Renner.
“Love patiently and passionately bears with others for as long as patience is needed;
Love doesn’t demand others to be like itself; rather, it is so focused on the needs of others that it bends over backwards to become what others need it to be;
Love is not ambitious, self-centered, or so consumed with itself that it never thinks of the needs or desires that others possess;
Love doesn’t go around talking about itself all the time, constantly exaggerating and embellishing the facts to make it look more important in the sight of others;
Love does not behave in a prideful, arrogant, haughty, superior, snooty, snobbish, or clannish manner;
Love is not rude and discourteous – it is not careless or thoughtless, nor does it carry on in a fashion that would be considered insensitive to others;
Love does not manipulate situations or scheme and devise methods that will twist situations to its own advantage;
Love does not deliberately engage in actions or speak words that are so sharp; they cause an ugly or violent response;
Love does not deliberately keep records of wrongs or past mistakes;
Love does not feel overjoyed when it sees an injustice done to someone else but is elated, thrilled, ecstatic, and overjoyed with the truth;
Love protects, shields, guards, covers, conceals, and safeguards people from exposure;
Love strains forward with all its might to believe the very best in every situation;
Love always expects and anticipates the best in others and the best for others;
Love never quits, never surrenders, and never gives up;
Love never disappoints, never fails, and never lets anyone down.”
Wow, what a tall order to fill. However, it is in the Word of God and He says that we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. I believe that the first place we should practice this kind of love, God’s kind of love, is in our homes, with our spouse and children. I have also found that it’s the hardest place. It’s those we are most intimately related to that can offend and hurt us the most. Sometimes it’s much easier to let an offense go when it’s someone we aren’t in that close of a relationship with. But when it comes to those in our very own home, it seems like the most difficult thing in the world to do at times.
If we want to walk in this God kind of love, we must address the issue of offense. James 1:19 (Amplified) says “Understand this, my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear [a ready listener], slow to speak, slow to take offense and get angry”. When someone has offended us, it seems the first thing we want to do is open our mouths. When our spouse or children do something that has offended us, has caused us to feel hurt and become angry, if you’re anything like me, the last thing your flesh wants to do is walk in the God kind of love. If I may be quite honest, more often than not, my first thought isn’t to be patient and kind. I’m so thankful for 2 Corinthians 3:18 (Amplified) which says, “And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [who is] the Spirit. What hope and encouragement there is in that scripture for me. As I continue to behold Him through the Word of God concerning His definition of love in this portion of Scripture in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, I am constantly being transfigured into His image and able to walk in this God kind of love.
When we have been offended by someone’s actions it is an occasion for us to stumble into sin. One of the definitions of offense in the Strong’s Lexicon #4625, is “occasion to fall”. It is also defined as a “stumblingblock”. When we become offended and feel hurt and angry, it is an occasion to fall into the sin of unforgiveness. Then, if we are unwilling to forgive, that unforgiveness turns into bitterness and resentment. Needless to say, these things destroy relationship as well as poison your own soul. They cause divorces, break up of relationships between friends and family. The only way to keep that offense from taking root is to forgive the offense. We are commanded to forgive others as we have been forgiven.
There are times when we are to confront the one who has offended us. Luke 17:3 says, “…If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. There are many times I wish I would have prayed and asked the Lord if I am to speak to someone about an offense that I feel someone has committed against me. If I would have prayed first the Holy Spirit could have given me the right words to say and the right spirit in which to confront that person. When I go to someone with a judgmental attitude it will only stir up more strife. We must remember that we too, have been offensive to others at times. The whole point in going to the one who has offended you is that you might be reconciled, not so you can make sure that other person knows how rotten they treated you and what a low down scoundrel they have been. We must go with a humble attitude, desiring to clear the offense out of the way so that we can be reconciled with that person.
Well, I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. I am going to print 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 and meditate on it until love oozes out of me like honey. How many marriages, friendship, family relationships could be saved if we would love as God has loved us? We will make mistakes, but that’s what repentance and forgiveness have been given to us for. Relationships are the most important thing we have. Material things can be replaced, people can’t. Don’t wait another day to forgive and begin practicing loving as God does.