I’ve been pondering 1 Corinthians 13. Those famous verses most often read at weddings, “Love is patient, love is kind…”
and that verse keeps running through my mind…
BEARS ALL THINGS
I googled the definition of “bear” and the Cambridge Dictionary gives a few definitions of “bear” as a verb, the most applicable here I believe are the following:
“to carry or bring something”
“to hold or support something”
“to accept something painful or unpleasant with determination and strength”.
We are to bear ALL things, not just the things that are easy, or that we want to bear with. In fact, this last definition above points to the need to bear with things when they are painful or unpleasant. Even the first two definitions point to the need for help. Carrying, holding or supporting is helping. When the going gets tough we are called to bear with each other. We are called to bear ALL THINGS. When things are bad, we are to continue to have hope. When something is painful we are called to endure. When we are faced with unpleasantness we are asked to accept it and continue to love.
When life is hard and people are ugly and we are so tired, we are asked to continue to move forward with determination and strength.
Because LOVE NEVER FAILS.
Jesus never gave up on us.
And we are expected to follow in His example.
Bear with your neighbor, your child, your husband, your mother, your friend, the stranger at the doctor’s office. Bear with the sales clerk at the store who is learning her new position painfully slow and offer her a smile and a reassuring statement. Bear with the old lady struggling to get her groceries out to the car and help her. Bear with your child who is having their fifth tantrum of the day and continue to offer your love and support to her. Bear with your teenaged son who just screamed at you that you don’t know anything and do not hold a grudge against him, but continue to love him. Bear with your neighbor who just lost their house in a fire and offer them a place to go, some warm clothes and food. Because we are asked to love and love bears all things.
A very convicting sermon I heard a long time ago revolved around these verses. It was such a simple, yet powerful exercise. I will leave it here for you to ponder.
Take this powerful passage that describes true love and remove the word “love” and replace it with your name. How do you measure up to each of these statements of what love is?
4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
- I am patient, I am kind and not jealous
- I do not brag and I am not arrogant
- I do not act unbecomingly
- I do not seek my own, am not provoked, do not take into account a wrong suffered
- I do not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoice with the truth
- I bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, endure all things.
Wow…That’s a tough list, isn’t it? I wish I could say that each of those statements is true all of the time. Unfortunately, I am human and I am not always loving. It is hard to be all of these descriptions of love all of the time. Does that mean I throw up my hands in the air and say “forget it?” NO! It means I keep trying, every day, every minute, to mold my behaviors to look more like Jesus. And I am thankful that he has given me the model to know what true love looks like — he bore the ultimate sacrifice for us, selflessly. He clearly showed us what true love looks like. I pray that we can all strive to be a little more like Jesus every day.