The Qualities of Love, Lesson 1
Love is Long-Suffering!
1 Corinthians 13:4-7, “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” NKJV
Love has been called an indefinable reality (like faith.) Love must be experienced to be understood. Someone said, “Love is better caught than taught.” Love is easy to discern, but impossible to define. When a young romantic says, “I am faint with love!” we old coots know exactly how they feel (we’ve felt it too, though we probably wouldn’t admit it.)
Knowing all this, Paul does not try to define love. Instead, he gives us a list of do’s and don’ts. If we cannot define love, at least we can discuss what it does and doesn’t do. Then, hopefully, we will know it when we see it. This is excellent reasoning.
Paul’s list may not be exhaustive, but it is exquisite. 15 examples. 7 positive. 8 negative. The negative are wedged between the positive (2-8-5) The 7 positive qualities are attractive. The 8 negative qualities are ugly. There is an ugly side to love, but if we want to, we can surround it with the positive and the attractive. Let the negative remain hidden, and the positive and attractive exposed.
Lesson #1: Love is Long-Suffering!
The Greek word for “suffers long” is Makrothumia. Makro means: far from, or a long distance away (as in Macrocosmics=the study of outer space.) Thumia means evil anger, or a bad temper. i.e.: Thumia refers to losing your temper. Together, Makrothumia means: True love does not lose its temper or throw temper tantrums. Long-suffering Love is Spirit controlled temperament.
1. Is a Characteristic of God. (Romans 2:4, 2 Peter 3:14-15)
2. Is a Characteristic of saved people. (Colossians 3:12, Galatians 5:22)
3. Is a Characteristic of Godly preaching. (2 Timothy 4:2)
4. Implies lenience, but not neglect. (Proverbs 19:11, Matthew 18:26-29)
5. Is without a doubt a form of patience, but it does not imply silence.
Long-suffering Love will talk, it just won’t yell! (1 Thessalonians 5:14)
Matthew Henry, “Long-suffering Love will endure evil, injury, and provocation, without being filled with resentment, indignation, or revenge. It will put up with many slights and neglects from the person it loves, and wait long to see the kindly effects of such patience on him.”
Alfred Barnes, “Love-suffering Love is the opposite of irritable”
Warren Wiersbe, “Long-suffering Love rises above petty things.”
John Walvoord, “Long-suffering Love is the capacity to be wronged and not retaliate.”
Now you know everything I do about Long-suffering Love. So, I guess the only question is, do any of us have it?