Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
I’ve come to the point where I dislike watching news programming or checking my Facebook page. People have become so acidic, negative, hostile, hateful, rude, angry…. Well, you get the point.
My mother had a remedy for such brash behavior. She threatened to wash my mouth out with soap. Not that she ever did, but her threatened punishment was enough to make me think twice about what I was about to say. No, I’m not suggesting we revive the practice. But I do believe we need to be more considerate of others.
I grew up in the Mayberry era, before violent entertainment became the norm. Okay. I sound like an old fogy. That’s because — I am. Regardless, I believe Zig Ziglar, the motivational speaker, had it right. “Garbage in. Garbage out.”
Fact is, the Lord expects his people to act differently from the world. Much can be learned by some serious meditation on 1 Corinthians 13:4-5.
Yesterday, we dealt with three important aspects of love, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy…”
Today, we’ll look at Paul’s second grouping of admonitions, “it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude…”
First, my ideas on ways to demonstrate these aspects of Christian love. Then you can come up with some of your own declarations.
Behavior of Love #4 – Love does not boast
Let’s have a show of hands of everyone who loves to hear somebody brag. That’s what I thought. You don’t like it any more than I like it.
Boasting is particularly unattractive for a Christian. Oh. You think Christians don’t brag? Often times it’s not so much what we say, but how we say it.
In my early days as a pastor, I quickly learned of boasting among ministers. First question at a pastor’s conference was not, “How are you?” It was, “How many are you running in Sunday School?” No telling how many lies have been given in response.
- “I never want to flaunt my success.”
- “I will never look down on you.”
- “I’ll always show you respect.”
- “I will honor your opinion and endeavor not to be a know-it-all.”
- “I’ll seek always to approach you in humility.”
Behavior of Love #5 – Love is not proud
Have you ever thought about how PRIDE holds us back? Too proud to admit when we’re wrong. Too proud to admit a mistake.
Pride causes us to have a haughty attitude toward others.
“My stuff is better than your stuff.”
“My way is the only way.”
“I’m so good, I’m just better than you.”
And Pride hinders and prevents forgiveness, one of our most important acts as believers.
“I’ll never forgive him for what he did to me.”
“I’m not going to talk to her until she says she’s sorry.”
The Apostle Paul’s thoughts are radical. He’s asking us to take dynamite to the behavior that hinders, damages, and destroys our relationships.
Old expressions about someone who is prideful come to mind.
“You need to come down off your high horse.”
“He’s a snob.”
“She’s stuck up.”
At the risk of telling too many stories about Christian principles my grandmother taught me, here’s another one. It was on the occasion of being selected for All State Band. First time a student from my school had ever made it, which is what I told her.
“You’re bragging, and I don’t like it,” she said.
“But it’s a big deal.”
“It’s not what you said. It’s the way you said it. You’re being haughty.”
My feelings were hurt. I refused to see her side of the argument because of — pride. If we’re not careful, pride can blind us from the truth.
Affirmations on Pride
- “I will never allow my pride to hurt our relationship.”
- “I’ll seek not to be stubborn.”
- “I will never allow pride to stand in the way of forgiveness.”
- “I’m not better than you.”
- “I am not always right.”
Behavior of Love #6 – Love is Not Rude
You and I both know the meaning of rude. Offensively impolite or ill-mannered. Know anybody like that?
These days, we only have to walk out our door to encounter rude behavior. But Paul’s instruction isn’t aimed at the other guy, unless he or she is a Christian. So let’s address reactionary rudeness.
Reactionary rudeness is the way we respond to the offensive behavior of someone else. The maniac who cuts you off in traffic. The jerk who breaks in line at the Walmart checkout. The family member who slights you or criticizes you.
When rudeness is inflicted upon you, how do you respond? Do you ignore it? Or do you hurl an insult back at the offending party?
President Harry S. Truman kept a sign on his desk that said, “The buck stops here.” We would all do well to apply that principle to rude behavior. You and I can’t control what other people do. But we can take charge of our behavior. “Rudeness stops here.”
One Sunday after the morning service, I was greeting the congregation as they filed out the door. A man confronted me with an offensive question while others were listening.
“Bro. Richard, you know I love you, right?”
“I couldn’t help but notice you’ve been putting on weight. You looked so much better when you were thin.”
Ouch. Like I didn’t know that. Everything within me wanted to respond with reactionary rudeness. I bit my tongue, smiled, thanked him for his advice, and wished him a good day.
Interesting isn’t it? That same man probably said many nice or complimentary things to me over the years. But I can’t recall any of them. Just that one poorly timed insult.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t speak the truth in Christian love. But it’s an earned privilege that comes from a heart in which there is no hidden agenda or malice. Oh, yeah. It’s also best handled in private.
Affirmations to Avoid Rudeness
- “I don’t want to ever intentionally offend you but if it were to happen, I will apologize and seek your forgiveness.”
- “I won’t allow my words or behavior to hurt your feelings.”
- “I’ll not be disrespectful of you.”
- “I don’t want to be selfish.”
- “I’ll always strive to consider your feelings.”
Today, we’ll close with another memorization exercise as you add to what you committed to memory yesterday.
You learned: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy…”
To that add: “…it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude…”
Put these principles into practice and you’ll bring sunshine into the lives of others.
For more on this topic, check out this article: Beware of Argumentative Christians
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 1 (January – March) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.