1 Corinthians 13:4c love does not envy
May I plead guilty here and just be done with it? Over the years what I am envious of has changed but it is still envy. I am envious of a man who seems to remember everyone’s name. It is a weakness of mine and I know it is important in relationships to remember names. It is a gift I do not have and hard as I try I don’t seem to be able to master it.
I envy the preacher who can hold a congregation on the edge of their seat waiting for his next word? I envy the teacher that quotes verses with accuracy, chapter and verse. I envy the ones who have a line waiting to greet and converse with them.
I also recognize why I envy others. My primary need is attention. That stems from an early childhood that did not get the right kind of attention. Knowing that, I try to avoid letting my needs color the moment.
Paul said we should covet earnestly the best gifts, then he said, let me show you a better way. Those words were the preamble to this very topic, love. So it is not wrong to be desirous of a godly thing. This leaves only one question; how do you go about getting the best gifts?
The answer to that and almost all of our godly questions is; a sincere and deeply meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ. Having that, you need not be envious of anything or anyone.
1 Corinthians 13:4b Love is … kind
Kind is one of those subjective words. What you consider to be a kind gesture or word is left to the feelings or emotion of the recipient. It is beyond your ability to do anything accept have good intentions. God is perfect in performance and His kindness never misses the mark. So how do we release the kind which is more than just good intentions?
The only way to be sure is to be sensitive to the leans of the Holy Spirit. Even the most mature Christians can mishear that “still small voice”. The best advice I can summon is to know the person as thoroughly as you can. Good fellowship removes many of the misunderstandings that occur among us.
What if you are a kind person by nature? How do we discover God’s kind love in us given that we are naturally kind? If you are a naturally kind person, how consistent is that kindness? Are you kind to everyone or are there some people where you just have to bite your tongue? I know that feeling. Try as I might not to be judgmental, there are some I just avoid for just this reason. God doesn’t do that. His love, being perfect does not change from person to person.
I’ve seen the sweetest mothers turn into a lioness when she perceives her cubs are under attack. Are we like that? They crucified His Son whom the Father sent to save them. Knowing that makes it difficult for me.
Romans 14:15 (modifed) For if your brother is grieved by what you [do], you are no longer walking in love. By what you [do], do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.