Tuesday, October 27, 2009

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.


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