1 Corinthians 13:4,5 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.
In regards to love, being rude is closely related to some of the other things Paul lists in his description of what love is and is not. Boasting, for example, is a way of acting rude. Being kind, however, cannot coexist with being rude. They are not compatible.
Suffice it to say, a lot has already been covered about this topic, but an specific area for consideration is sarcasm. Some people may think that sarcasm is not unkind. To them it’s just funny and the other person knows they’re joking. Some of us have a real tendency to lean on sarcasm rather than just discussing something and dealing with it. This is actually a lack of respect for others, which can be hurtful. Sometimes, it’s downright belittling.
There’s something deeper behind the source of our sarcasm. Why don’t we go ahead and get up the courage to deal with it instead of taking it out on our loved ones? You’d be hard-pressed to find a truly happy married couple that speaks to each other with rudeness and sarcasm regularly. Even if it’s done in a joking manner, it does affect the person on the other end. If we love them, we won’t treat them rudely or degrade them with our words.
1 Corinthians 13:4 Love is… not arrogant
How many marriages could be saved if just one partner would apologize? How many friendships – if only one person would put down their pride and say “I’m sorry”? Pride is truly the root of so many evils.
Pride and arrogance are the stepping stones to lust, to selfishness, to anger, to contempt. There’s no room for pride in a loving relationship – pride takes up too much space. Really loving someone means being willing to admit faults and shortcomings. Love puts others first, even at the expense of ego or dignity. Pride just doesn’t fit into the scenario.
A proud person makes decisions based on what will make them look the best. They’ll take others down to build themselves up and hurt feelings to keep from admitting wrong. We don’t think we’re being evil when we’re prideful, it seems right, even good, at the time. You know yourself well enough to know where your pride resides. Capture it, and act in love. Be willing to be wrong and admit it. Be ready to step aside when someone has a better idea. Respect in love.
1 Corinthians 13:4 Love…does not…boast
No one likes a braggart. Excessive boasting is obnoxious and rude. It belittles others and serves self. In short, it’s not love. Let’s translate this into a scenario you can relate to.
You’re out with friends. The girls are chatting together while the guys share a word. You’re going on about what you did for your girlfriend for your anniversary, telling all of the details about how much hard work you put into it. This can play out two ways.
You’re either sharing all this so that your friends know how wonderful you think your girlfriend is, and how deserving she is of this treatment, expressing regret that you can’t always treat her with this much attention – or, you’re bragging. In the latter scenario, you’re trying to make yourself look good, which makes it seem as though you went so out of your way for such an underserving wretch as your girlfriend, and she’s so lucky to have a good person like you in her life. How does this make her feel? Is that loving?
Love builds others up, it doesn’t tear them down. And bragging does bring others down in an attempt to elevate self. It’s best to follow the wisdom of Proverbs 27:2 and “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth”. True love acts in humility.
1 Corinthians 13:4 Love…does not envy
Are you happy when your loved ones succeed? It seems like a silly question, but the reality is that there can be times when we’re not happy for them when they have done something that makes them happy. The root of this can be two things; either one equates to envy.
We may feel inadequate that something other than ourselves can have this effect on those around us. Maybe we want to be the only one capable of bringing them happiness. “Could I put as much of a smile on her face as this has?” “Am I even good enough?” This is envy in one regard.
Another common scenario is just being jealous that someone else has something that you don’t. You want what they have so you can’t just be happy for them. Again, it’s envy, and it’s not loving.
True love wants what’s best for others. You don’t want something at the expense of your spouse, your friends, your family. You’re willing to give up your own desires to see them live a fulfilling life. You put them first, never trying to step on them to get what you want.
True love rejoices in triumphs and grieves alongside the hurting. True love will even help achieve those triumphs. We’ve got to hold others in that high a regard. When God chooses to bless, that’s a time to give thanks, not pout in envy.
1 Corinthians 13:4 Love is… kind
There are some people who could just make you cringe with the way they treat those they claim to love. Insults, vulgarities, and general mean-spiritedness define these relationships. Could this really be love? Is it even possible that these people who treat each other worse than enemies have anything even resembling love for each other? You know the people…you’ve seen them out in public, they’re the couple at the dinner party that everyone else is sort of embarrassed for.
Love is so much more than just the way we feel about each other. The way we treat each other, however, is a reflection of what our true view is of those we “love”. It’s not possible to love someone in the true definition of the word and treat them with contempt or unkindness. When you love someone, you want to be kind to them. You want to treat them as though they are important and worthy of respect. There’s no room for intentionally hurting feelings, manipulation, or making them feel worthless.
Love is kind and our example is Jesus. The only perfect man to ever walk the earth treated His loved ones with the utmost kindness and respect. He expects us to do the same, not just for those we love, but for those He loves.