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December 21, 2023

What True Love Does

[Love] rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

–1 Corinthians 13:6-7

Yesterday, we studied five things love does not do; now let’s look at five things love does do. First of all, love “rejoices with the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:6). The Bible says if you truly love somebody, you are going to share the truth with them. A lot of times, we are hesitant to tell people what they need to hear because we do not want to hurt our reputation or hurt the relationship. And in our culture today, telling the truth is sometimes labeled as hatred. Yet the Bible says to flatter somebody, not to tell them the truth, is a sign of hatred for that person. Proverbs 26:28 says, “Flattery is a form of hatred and wounds cruelly” (TLB).

When you flatter somebody, you are more interested in yourself than in their well-being. You are trying to get something out of them or to keep a relationship going for your own benefit. So you tell them what they want to hear rather than what they need to hear. But sometimes the most loving thing you can share with someone is the truth. Proverbs 28:23 says, “In the end, people appreciate frankness more than flattery” (TLB). Love will share the truth even when it hurts.

Second, love “bears all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7). The Greek verb “stego,” translated as “bear,” means “to cover over.” It means to shield another person from the consequences of their wrongdoing. If you truly love somebody, you want to protect them from suffering the consequences they deserve. Sometimes the most loving thing we can do is to let people feel the consequences of their actions, but our hearts desire to shield them.

Third, love “believes all things” (v. 7). That does not mean you believe anything and everything. It simply means you give other people the benefit of the doubt. Your first inclination is to believe the best about a person instead of the worst about a person.

Fourth, love “hopes all things” (v. 7). That is, love refuses to believe a person’s failure is final. No matter how badly the other person behaves, love holds out the possibility for that person to change. Now, that does not mean we don’t take action. Sometimes a church needs to discipline, a company needs to dismiss, or a government needs to execute. But we are not to pronounce a final judgment upon somebody–only God can do that.

Finally, love “endures all things” (v. 7). When another person hurts you, instead of returning evil for evil, you endure those hurts and continue to love–just like Jesus did. As He hung on the cross, He said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

 

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Love Connection” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2012.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org; Scripture quotations marked (TLB) are taken from The Living Bible, copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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