Unconditional Love – The Missing Ingredient (part 6):
December 13, 2020
Unconditional Love – The Missing Ingredient (part 6):
15 Characteristics of Love (part 3) from 1 Corinthians 13
Spiritual growth is love growth.
How are you doing with loving people unconditionally, regardless of who they are: ethnicity, socioeconomic class, male or female.
Do you love them equally?
THIS is the answer to race relationships in America and anywhere.
How are you doing with being self-sacrificial with your love – putting yourself last and putting others 1st?
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. (35) By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
Pt 2 – (October 18)- we covered 5 things about love:
1. Jesus gave the Jews two commandments to love that absorb the TEN.
2. Jesus gave believers a new commandment which, if obeyed, fulfills all others.
3. Love cures strife and keeps the dark kingdom out of your life.
4. Jesus introduced the concept of loving your enemies to the disciples.
5. This love is like an alien to our world.
Part 3 – (November 15) – we looked at 16 things you should do with love.
There is an emphasis on love in the NT.
But it is more than a human love.
It is unconditional/self-sacrificial.
Part 4 – (November 22) – we started looking at 15 characteristics of love.
Part 5 – (December 6)
15 Characteristics of Love from 1 Corinthians 13 (part 3)
Here is the classic scripture in the NT on what love looks like.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NKJV)
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
1. Love is willing to suffer a long time.
2. Love treats people kindly.
3. Love is not jealous.
4. Love does not brag.
5. Love is not proud.
6. Love is not rude.
7. Love puts others first.
8. Love will not respond with anger and offense.
9. Love does not keep lists of wrongs.
Thinks no evil
AMPL: Takes no account of the evil done to it: pays no attention to a suffered wrong.
Greek – logizomai
to take an inventory, i.e. estimate (literally or figuratively):
Despise, esteem, impute, lay, number, reason, reckon, suppose, think (on).
Love keeps no record of wrongs.
The Greek word here is logizomai and means to take an inventory. It means to make a list in your mind of what someone does to harm or bother you, or to remember when someone does you wrong.
When you see someone, do you have a list in your mind of things they have done that you don’t like?
God’s love in us keeps no record of wrongs.
This characteristic is perhaps one of the best gauges of whether or not we’re walking in love.
We have left the love realm when we start holding others’ offenses against them and start making lists in our minds of their offenses against us.
I was ministering to a man many years ago who had problems in his marriage. He sat in my office and began to tell me how difficult it was for him to live with his wife. He began to mention a plethora of problems he had with her. I decided to sit back and let him talk for a bit. I was taken back by his next move. He stood up from his chair with a stack of computer paper in his hand, the kind used years ago that was joined and folded together. As he stood he said, Here is a list of each offense my wife has committed against me. As I examined the page after page of paper, I saw for each offense one line with a date, a time, and the nature of the offense. His action to indict his wife of all these “crimes” against him proved his own guilt of self-centeredness! This is a great example of the opposite of what we should do to others. Instead of remembering his wife’s offenses, he should have made a decision to take no account of them, and to treat his wife as if she had never done wrong.
The flesh loves to brood over past offenses. But love will move us away from the past, and will lead us to forget what others have done to harm us, and will urge us to treat them as though they had never harmed us in any way.
Many years ago while attending Bible school, I worked for a large grocery chain that was unionized. The winter of my first year there, a section of the labor force in the grocery chain decided to go on a strike to protest their benefits package. I was in charge of the night crew at the store and decided to cross the picket line and go to work in spite of the opposition of union employees. One of the men who worked in the area that called the strike was holding up a sign in the picket line and challenged me as I went to work, calling me all sorts of names. I just smiled at him each day as I crossed the line and went to work.
When the strike was over, the man that had made the harsh comments to me came to the front door of the store the first morning back from the strike and knocked so I could open it and let him in for work that day. When he saw me open the door and heard me greet him with Good morning, he acted as though I was the invisible man, and walked past me without speaking. Later, before I left work, I saw him in a circle of people talking and walked up to the group and briefly entered the conversation. I made a comment to this man, and on purpose he acted as though I had said nothing and began abruptly talking to another person in the circle of people. For weeks thereafter, I was invisible to him. He never acknowledged my presence or spoke to me. He intended to ignore me to rub in the fact that I crossed the picket line.
I remembered the first day that he acted this way, that I was to walk in love and treat people as though they had never wronged me, that I was to take no account of the evil done to me, and that I was to pay no attention to a suffered wrong. I decided to see what the love of God would do in this situation. I remembered that 1 Peter 4:8 (AMPL) says that love forgives and disregards the offenses of others.
I greeted him each morning for weeks with a hearty Good morning as I called him by name. I spoke each time I saw him in the store. And I said not one word to anyone else about how he was treating me. He continued his invisible man treatment towards me for many weeks.
One day weeks later, I opened the door for him, expecting the same cold shoulder I had received in the past. But this time, He greeted me with a Good morning Mitch, and a hearty handshake. And thereafter, he was warm and pleasant again, and conversed freely with me and others. I never mentioned the incident, and I did not bring it up to him. Love had won!
As a young man in my early twenties, this incident taught me an invaluable lesson as to the power of agape love. Love never fails! We do have the ability to love the unlovely and the cantankerous!
You may be involved in a difficult home relationship or a troubled relationship at work.
It may be a relationship with a family member or neighbor that has become testy.
Be the person that chooses to walk in love, choosing not to take account of the wrongs committed against you.
Treat the offending party as though they had done no wrong.
Treat them the way you want to be treated yourself.
Act in love towards them. Ignore the emotions of revenge or ill-will.
Focus on loving with this supernatural agape that God has placed in your spirit.
Meditate on 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 until it oozes out of you in words, tones, thought, motives, and actions.
1. How do you control your anger?
2. Are you easily offended?
3. Do you keep lists in your mind of others’ wrongs against you?