March 5, 2008
Love Out Loud
By Karen Ehman
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
James 1:22 (NIV)
One of my favorite passages from the Bible is the “Love” chapter from 1 Corinthians 13. I remember being challenged to memorize it for an English class in my public high school in the 1980’s. Even secular scholars have no doubt that this piece of literature is a beautiful work, flowing in its rhythm and captivating in its cadence. It is actually relatively easy to memorize. However, living out the words is a whole different story!
Let’s pick up the passage in verses 4-8….
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
How would you describe your love for others? Are you a patient soul or do you drum your fingers and tap your toes while you stew and sigh not-so-patiently? Is it hard to bring you to a point of anger or does flying off the handle come much too naturally? Do you keep score with those who have wronged you, ready to dredge up the past and become “historical” to make your point? Do you boast? Got a case of the green envies? Ever been rude to someone? How will we ever learn to love the way this passage urges us to?
Here’s an idea to help to flesh this out in real life. Make a copy of the love chapter on your computer. However, wherever the word love is used (or its pronoun ‘it’) leave a blank. Then try over the next week or so to be able to write your name in the blank when you have a chance to exhibit this quality in real life. Were you patient at the doctor’s office today and, instead of grumbling while sitting in the waiting room, you quietly thanked God for the extra time and then used it to pray for others? Write your name on the “________ is patient” line. Did you and another family member get into a heated discussion and you were tempted to bring up a wrong from the past but, with great restraint, held your tongue? Bravo! Write your name on the “________ keeps no record of wrongs” line. Were you kind to the grumpy cashier instead of being rude right back? Get out that pen and write away!
Be assured that if you take this challenge, God will give you lots of opportunities to practice displaying these wonderful characteristics of love. And you can count on others noticing the change in you as you seek to love out loud.
Dear Lord, help me to accurately reflect the love you show to us by my actions to others. When I want to live in the flesh, help me to walk in the spirit. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
To take this activity one step further, read the love chapter aloud as a family. Talk about the characteristics of love and how you as a family can display those to each other in the days ahead. Pick a day next month to remove the paper, sit down as a family and read it out loud. The result will be something like this…. “Spencer is patient. Mitchell is kind. Dad does not envy…..” Then have the members who wrote the names down tell why they did. This is a great family building activity as siblings and parents catch others being Christ-like.
Which characteristic of love comes the most natural to you? Which is the hardest for you to display?
Choose the characteristic that you most need to work on and look up passages in the Bible that deal with this subject. Write these out on cards to carry with you to memorize.
1 John 3:18, “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth” 1 John 3:18 (NIV)
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105