1 Corinthians 13:4
[Love] keeps no record of being wronged (v.5).
I don’t know what else I can do!” my exasperated
friend sulked. “I set high standards for my kids and
hold them accountable for their actions, and all they
do is hate me. What did I do to deserve this?” He noted
how he has always been “hard” (his word) on his son
so that he would do great things. Hmm. Is this about the
ingratitude of the kids? Or the rules-based, inflexible
view of love held by the father?
In the beginning, there was a perfect Father who didn’t
have many rules. Just one, actually. He gave His children
a stunningly gorgeous garden in which to live and work.
He enjoyed their company. They had everything they
could ever need, including a perfect mate. (Only Adam
and Eve could say that.) He gave them one solitary
prohibition. “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree
in the garden,” He told Adam, “except the tree of the
knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are
sure to die” (Genesis 2:16-17). You know the rest of the
story. Adam and Eve, it seems, were just like us . . .
God, being the perfect Father, didn’t let His kids off the
hook. There were consequences for their bad behavior.
But He didn’t leave them there either. Even on that sad
day, He set in motion a plan to buy us back from sin’s
curse with the sacrifice of His perfect Son Jesus.
In this world, imperfect parents struggle to raise
imperfect children who grow up to accept or ignore their
advice and correction. We do well to remember a lesson God taught us long
ago: Perfect love doesn’t require love in return (1 Corinthians 13:5).
A love that we demand from others is no love at all—it’s simply extortion.
What expectations are embodied by the love described in
1 Corinthians 13:4?
What kind of love do you extend to others? How do the people in
your life love you in ways that remind you of God’s love? Why is it important
that God’s love for you isn’t based on what you do?