Characteristics of Love Series
The scripture passage in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 about the qualities and characteristics of love is probably one of the most quoted parts of the Bible, but may be the hardest to live out. You know the one…”love is patient, love is kind, etc.”
The first part of (v.4) says, “Love is patient,” and while most versions say “patient,” some say, “Suffers long” or “long-suffering” such as the NKJV. I don’t know about you, but at times being patient does seem like I am suffering long…so I can see why they are used interchangeably.
Dictionary.com defines long-suffering as:
1. enduring injury, trouble, or provocation (angers, irritation, instigation) long and patiently.
2. long and patient endurance of injury, trouble, or provocation (angers, irritation, instigation)
Being patient sometimes means we suffer a little bit, never really anything too life-threatening or damaging to our self-worth. I experienced a little long-suffering last night, but soon realized how it was for the benefit of another…and really wasn’t suffering compared to what someone else was going through.
A friend and I went out to eat to meet up and chat. The restaurant we had chosen was closed and so we went down the road a ways and found another. We sat down, ordered waters (as if you need to know that) and waited…and waited…and waited to order. I was beginning to get a smidge perturbed that our waitress had not returned and was no where to be found. The restaurant was not empty, but not super busy either.
It wasn’t until I realized that this woman was the only waitress (and bartender) for the whole restaurant and then I spotted her there behind the bar…crying. “Ok, God, my food isn’t so important.”
All too often we do not see why we need to be better in the long-suffering department. We don’t stop to think that our patience will positively affect another person. To me long-suffering isn’t just about being patient, but caring about other people around us. Not being door mats, but a little less self-centered.
It would have been easier to remain annoyed at that waitress and not be understanding. It would have been easier to get up, leave and go to another restaurant instead of asking her if she was ok. It would have been super easy to not leave a very good tip. Yet, people need to know that someone cares, is patient and isn’t so self-centered in their moment of stress…that they are more important than burgers and sweet potato fries.
Remember, that love isn’t just “long in the tooth,” but it is also loooooong-suffering at times too. It is also probably good to remember that God doesn’t command us to do something that He doesn’t do daily (love thy neighbor). He is pretty patient and loving with us.
Characteristic of love #3: it is looooong.