Today I had some time to journal through 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, looking it up in several translations and a bunch of the words using Strongs online, writing it all down and then simplifying it.
Some of my favorite words:
The words typically translated "love does not seek it's own" or "insist on it's own way" literally mean to strive for/crave/demand + itself so you could translate it "love does not crave itself" or to personalize it: "I do not crave myself" (convicting!!!!!)
There are two different words both translated as "rejoice" in the phrase "does not rejoice in evil but rejoices in the truth" the first "rejoice" means to greet or be glad to see someone, the second one means to share in the joy of someone. I love the subtlety there and the idea of sharing in the joy of truth the way you share in the joy of a friend getting married or having a baby. It makes me think of having a party.
I was surprised that the word translated "bears" in the phrase "love bears all things" has to do with roofing. It comes from a word meaning a roof or deck and means to cover, to protect like a roof, to keep off something that threatens, to cover with silence. It also means to bear up, endure or forbear. I love this idea that forbearance means that sometimes we cover over the errors of others with silence the way a roof covers a home.
Okay, last one: the word translated "fail" or sometimes "end" in the phrase "love never fails" can mean "to be removed from power by death" and also, and this is my favorite, "dismemberment of a corpse by decay" it's an extreme word. I love it. Love never fails.
A lot of these words say the same thing, over and over these words deal with offense. Don't be quick to take offense, don't burn with anger when treated perniciously (that was in the definition of the word "wrongs" in the phrase "keeps no record of wrongs" and I super big heart eyes love the sound of that word) don't let offenses build up - don't give them weight or let offenses accrue a debt.
Over and over I felt these words were saying:
Love puts up with a lot of crap.
I so love that this passage goes to the heart of what I struggle with in my relationships. I tend to have this expectation that love will make me feel happy, secure, or whatever. This passage reminds me that real love is what happens in the pain of getting hurt, wronged and disappointed.
This is what I wrote at the end of the exercise and I wanted to share it here:
Love bravely and calmly endures trouble and misfortunes, bearing ill-treatment and offenses without loosing heart or plotting revenge. Love is not sharp, harsh or bitter but gentle, mild, pleasant, sympathetic and helpful.
Love is not friends with injustice and unrighteousness but rather shares in the joy of the truth, free from all falsehood and deceit.
Love covers with silence the errors of others the way a roof covers a home from the rain. Love believes the best about everyone, hopes for the best in every circumstance, trusting God in everything with joyful, confident expectation, without running away or giving up, but holding fast. Believing that love can not ever be lost or ruined and absolutely will not ever fail.
Reading these words I feel two things:
1) I am so thankful that my God loves me like this. Patiently putting up with my crap. Loving me despite my million flaws. Setting me free to love others. Which leads me to thought 2) that the only way I could ever hope to really love like this is the power if the Holy Spirit inside me. I could try to love like this but I think my default is to get my feelings hurt and go pout about it for a day or two. I find myself turning to God desperate for Him to reveal to me how great is the love that He has already lavished on me so that I can turn to others with a similar kind of love. I need Him desperately.