Therefore, Love is Not Selfish – 1 Corinthians 13:5
“It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” – 1 Corinthians 13:5
Most of the time we think of this verse in a sentimental way. We think that this verse is probably fitted for special occasions like the heart’s day to remind everyone about love. We thought that loving could be just this easy and as we read the whole chapter of 1 Corinthians 13, we would already know the whole meaning of love and what it is to love. However, we have to know that the context of this passage is not a sentimental theme but instead, a corrective passage to the Christians in Corinth.
All aspects of love were missing in their ungodly behavior. Their ungodly behaviors were displayed even at church, in their ministries, in their homes and their worship services. All they did was to show an unloving attitude towards each other. Having their own agendas and satisfying selfish pleasures. Thus, with all of these, Paul was moved to write these definitions of love to them. All of them are verbs, not an adjective. All requires movement and action because love is not just a feeling but an action.
Furthermore, the reason why Paul wrote this is to remind them that they have to love just as Christ loves them. Although they already knew about the love of Christ and how Christ died for them, they still continue to live their lives having ungodly behaviour towards each other. Maybe it is all because they thought that one spiritual gift is above others or maybe financial stableness is the highest position. Therefore, Paul wants to humble them through writing this passage, correcting their own definition of love and giving them the right instructions on how to love in the same way as Christ loved us.
As the first part of this was reflected the other day, Paul continued to write that love does not dishonor others. Rudeness and dishonorment was very present at the church in Corinth. They were rude with each other and they would choose to dishonor others as long as they continue to be in a place with high regard. However, love is not like that. Love does not dishonor and it is not rude. For dishonoring someone or for being rude means pursuing self-gratification at the expense of others. Thus, love is not like that for love should not be selfish. Love should be selfless and always having the thought of the well-being of others.
Second, love is not self-seeking. In connection with not dishonoring others, love is not self-seeking or selfish. Indeed love just encircles around being selfless and unconditional. Love always yields. It will always give way for others. Meeting each other’s needs. In the church of Corinth, they were always seeking to satisfy their own selves. If only they were not self-seeking and have thought of the others’ well-being first, many problems would’ve been solved. Love should be meeting in the middle of anything. Meeting each other’s needs so that in any way, both of the parties can help. Again, it should not be done at the expense of others, but love should always be what others might need or what others need the most.
Third, love is not easily angered. The other day, we reflected about love being patient. Well, this is also almost the same. Love should be patient and not easily angered. One should learn to control temper for temper is the biggest obstacle in terms of learning how to be patient. Having a short temper or quick temper is evidence that we view other people as an obstacle to reach our own goals. Every time people will try to delay us from doing what we want with or without the intention to, we easily burst into anger. Again, love is not selfish, serving others must be our goal in the first place. Through that, we will be able to learn to control our temper and we will then not be easily angered.
Lastly, which would also be one of the hardest ones to achieve is that love does not keep records of wrong. Natural human instinct is to keep score, to get even and never forget something that is done in the past that completely impacted you. However, love is not like that. It does not keep records of wrong. For love is forgiving and you can never truly forgive if you just kept on keeping that record inside your heart. Love should let go of all the painful things, all the wrong things and all the sins one has caused you. It is indeed very hard for we tend to have the mindset of revenge. However, keep in mind that loving one another requires forgiving and forgiving requires forgetting and letting go.
Now, as Paul wrote those for the church in Corinth, it was not only addressed to them but also to us— present Christians in this fallen world. We often have the wrong mindset of love and even if we deny it or not, we also act like the Christians in Corinth. We have our own fair share of ungodly behaviors but then we claim to love others. We shouldn’t be like that. We should be reminded that love does not dishonor, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered and it keeps no records of wrong. It would be so hard for us to follow this but let us be encouraged to do so because after all, being a Christian means following Christ and following Christ means living like Him. Therefore, as we live like Christ, we are ought to love just how He loves us too.
We have to remember that Jesus firstly perfected all of these definitions of love to us before He commands us to do the same. He does not dishonor us for it is us who kept on dishonoring Him. He even made us holy and blameless through His Passion. Christ is not self-seeking because He drank the cup with the wrath of God so that we will have eternal life. He came to serve not to be served, He indeed humbled Himself. He is also not easily angered because He has given us plenty of opportunity and chances even though we are sinful. Lastly, Christ does not keep records of wrong. He does not count our sins anymore for He was the one who crucified all of it with Him. He forgives and forgets. Christ has indeed shown us the biggest example of love. Therefore, we are ought to love one another just as He loved us. May we always remember this and treasure this into our hearts. May we always be reminded of what true love is everytime we see Christ. May other people see Christ in us through our love for them.
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