1 Corinthian 13:4-6
"Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;"
In today's culture, we seem to have a very wrong view of love, as is seen simply by reading all of 1 Corinthians 13. Since today is Valentines Day, when most people celebrate "love" I wanted to look at a couple different way that we can show true, genuine love to those around us. I am only going to touch on a few points from the above verse in each category, so hopefully you won't feel like you're reading a book. :-)
Siblings are some of most wonderful and yet some of the toughest people you will ever have to be with. So how can we demonstrate love to them? "Charity suffereth long, and is kind..." I look at that and say, "Yea, you definitely suffer long with your siblings." But then it adds, "and is kind."
I have to suffer long (which in practical terms means to be patient with them) and be kind to them in the process. Being kind and praising your siblings is one of the best ways you can show love to them, especially if you are older than your sibling/s.
"Charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up."
Do not place yourself on a pedestal above your siblings. If they look up to you in anyway it is ONLY because of Christ. It is NOT because you are something great. Christ is great; we are sinful. If you boast about yourself to your siblings you will only tear them down.
"...is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil..."
Boy, if anyone can make me mad in 0.5 seconds it would be my siblings. But, that's not right. We need to be calm, contained and even if we feel the match being lit within our hearts, we need to ask God to extinguish it, not feed it. Believe me, coming from a large family of many children, if you don't want your siblings to provoke you, don't be easily provoked. It's not fun to taunt and annoy if the one you're taunting doesn't get upset.
Remember to show love to you siblings. They really do love you.
I just want to start by saying that one of the best ways to show love to your parents is by honoring them; at home, out in public, where ever you, are go out of your way to show honor to them.
"Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own..."
I think that this is a huge one when it comes to showing love to our parents. They have a HUGE job in raising us. And that job is added to all of the other jobs that they have to deal with. If we only focus on ourselves, always doing what we want to do, and never taking the time to notice their needs we are only adding to their work load. Believe me, I am the worst offender of this. So often I find myself living only for myself and not even giving a thought to the sink full of dishes, laundry room filled with smelly towels, phones calls needing to be returned, forms to be filled out, books to be shipped, shelves that need to be alphabetized, bathrooms in need of dire help...you get the picture.
Taking time out of your day and your activities to bless your parents by taking some of their work load is an excellent way to show love.
And of course, I could go on and on.
Many of the things that apply to siblings also apply to friends, just in a different way. Typically, we have much more patience with our friends, but are we willing to suffer with them? There is no perfect person other than Christ. We all struggle. Are you willing to take the time to comfort and pray with your friends that are struggling. Sometimes this may feel uncomfortable, but WOW does it show love.
I am so blessed to have a couple of very dear friends who have set such an awesome example of this in my life. Whenever I share my struggles with them they will ask if they can pray for me, and then they will ask how they can pray for me in the future. What a blessing!
"Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;"
This can be a really tough one sometimes, but a good way to show love to your friends is to keep each other accountable in the truth. Pray for each other. Be honest with each other. Sometimes that means humbly addressing tough issues which sometimes results in lost friendships, but if you truly love your friend you will not want to see them fall into iniquity. Humility is the key though. Without humility they will simply feel judged.
Okay, that's enough. These are just some different ways that you and I can use to show love to those around us. Let's go out of our way to display love to those around us.