You know the chapter, right?
Love is patient
Love is kind
Love does not envy
Love does not boast
Love is not arrogant
Love is not rude
Love does four other things too…
Plus…love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. – 1 Corinthians 13:5-8a (ESV)
Love, Love, Love: all you need is love
- Wait a cotton pick’in minute…my husband is a jerk. What do I do?
- Well, my wife is a victimized nag. What do I do?
- I’ve got you both beat. My “Christian” coworker is impossible to work with. What am I to do?
Do you mean all we need is love? Are we called to grin and bear it because Paul told the Corinthians that they are to “bear all things?”
These are great questions and the answer to all of your questions is a resounding “No!”
First of all, the letter to the Corinthians is a “corrective letter.” Paul was addressing their sin issues. He was not ignoring their sin. In the thirteen chapter he was not commending them for their great love, but rebuking them because they were not modeling the love of Christ as laid out in the chapter.
We have to be careful that we don’t confuse or misapply what Paul was doing. There is no question about his loving confrontation of the Corinthians, especially in chapters 12-14.
Secondly, it is never loving to sit by and watch someone sin. Several years ago my son dropped a weightlifting disc on his big toe. He screamed bloody murder as the end of his big toe was partially torn.
In that moment there was nothing more important in our home than grabbing him up in my arms and holding him, while bringing immediate medical attention to his big toe. We could not be deterred from serving him because he was physically suffering.
From a Christian worldview, it would be just as unloving to allow someone to continue in sin when you or I have the ability to do something about it. Paul did not shrink back from correcting a wayward brother, or in this case, a wayward church. He perfectly modeled love.
Thirdly, it mocks the Gospel if sin is not confronted. Christ died on the cross for sin. Because of His death a way has been made for sin to be forgiven. For the first time in the history of mankind there is a solution for sin.
With that in mind, don’t you think it would be loving to bring an erring brother to the only Person who can freely pardon, cleanse, forgive, and restore him to God?
Sitting here in my bedroom I can look out my window and see our local hospital. Yes, I live that close to the hospital. When my son’s toe was injured, I did not hesitate. The most loving thing I could have done for him in his crucial time of need was get him help. Therefore, we took him next door.
Bearing All Things
To bear all things means that true agape love in your heart and life will enable you to bear up under the weight of whatever is going on in your life. It does not mean you are supposed to tolerate (bear) other people’s sins. That makes no sense.
It would contradict the Word of God, while marginalizing the Gospel to see someone living in sin and not do anything about it.
Recently I shared with my small group a personal sin issue that I am struggling with. I shared my sin with them because I know they love me. Because of their love for me, they are not only able to bear up under my sin, but bring loving corrective care to me.
A person who has been rightly affected by the Gospel can live out this kind of love.
Extracting the “love chapter” from its context and placing it in a wedding ceremony has probably done a disservice to the church. Paul did not believe in or practice that kind of sentimental love. The love that he believed, modeled, and taught was the same kind of love that motivated a holy God to execute His Son on a cruel tree.
When you are riveted by that kind of love, then you are not only equipped to hold a crying son in your arms, but you’re ready and motivated to bring corrective love to an erring brother.