I Corinthians 10 -- 13
There are about 18 basic distinguishing virtues of love. Such love is very patient and kind -- never envious or boastful. It is not conceited, with inflated ideas of its own importance, and is never rude. Love does not insist on its own way and is not self-seeking. Love is not quick to take offense (not resentful), love does not think about evil things or rejoice in anything sinful; but love always delights when truth is upheld. Love can overlook faults, is eager to believe the best, is always hopeful, knows no limit to its endurance, and will never cease (see I Corinthians 13:4-8).
Every true Christian has the indwelling nature of God and is called a child of God, with the God-given ability to love: Every one that loves is born of God, and knows God. . . . for God (His Nature) is love. . . . If a man say, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar: for he that loves not his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? (I John 4:7-8,20). He who is hateful does not and never did know God. Jesus said: By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love one to another (John 13:35). Jesus gave a new commandment regarding love. Under the Old Covenant, people were to love others as themselves, but under the New Covenant, we are to love others as God loves them (Leviticus 19:18; John 13:34). The fruit of the Spirit (evidence of being a Christian) is love (Galatians 5:22).
We forfeit our privilege of receiving forgiveness from God when we hold a grudge, are resentful, or have an unforgiving spirit -- all are forms of hatred. We are warned: If you do not forgive (others their trespasses -- sins), neither will your Father which is in Heaven forgive your trespasses (Mark 11:26). True forgiveness from the heart is one of the signs of genuine salvation (Ephesians 4:32). We know that we have passed from death into Life, because we love the brethren (other Christians) (I John 3:14).
Love also forgives the inconsiderate actions of others. At one time, Peter thought there should be a reasonable limit to forgiving those who wronged him (Luke 17:4). Christ replied that forgiveness should not be limited to seven offenses, but should extend to seventy times seven (more than anyone can remember), meaning that unlimited forgiveness must characterize His true disciples (Matthew 18:21-35).
In order to demonstrate His love through us, our Lord will sometimes allow good people or circumstances to disappoint us and shatter our expectations. These provide an opportunity to express His love. Or He may permit tragic experiences to see if we will allow His love to flow through us. In the end, being motivated by love is the yardstick by which all our actions and attitudes will be measured, for it was the motivation for Jesus coming into the world and dying on the cross, and it is to be our example. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).
For I Corinthians 10:7: See Ex. 32:6. I Cor. 10:26: See Psa. 24:1.
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