“[Love] is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs”
(1 Corinthians 13:5).
- Agape love is not rude. The Greek work for rude is aschemoneo. It means to behave in an indecent, unbecoming, or inappropriate manner. We’ve all been around crude and rude people. We never become so spiritual that we are unaffected by their obscenity or indecency. However, if we are exposed to these things often enough, we lose our sensitivity. Its destructiveness comes from the mind’s tendency to replay words, pictures, or events.
When the Holy Spirit is at work in us, we quickly realize that He is offended in the presence of obscenity. He bears a keen sensitivity toward that which is inappropriate. We need to direct our thoughts so that the capacity to exercise agape love is not quenched in us. Philippians 4:8 provides excellent guidelines.
- Agape love is not self-seeking. Paul explains that in the last days, “people will be lovers of themselves . . . boastful, proud” (2 Timothy 3:2). Agape love seeks the best for another. God would not have spared His beloved Son if He had been seeking His own interest, and we would still be steeped in our sins. It was because He “so loved” that He gave His very best to us.
Many are focused on and preoccupied with their “rights,” yet, the idea of entitlements is a worldly, not a biblical concept. This doesn’t mean that we allow others to take advantage of us, but we are to be focused on showing God’s love rather than selfish interests.
- Agape love is not easily angered. Psalm 145:8 tells us that God is “slow to anger and rich in love.” We cannot be generous in His love and quick to become angry. It is because of this slowness to anger that agape love is not self-seeking.
Much of what makes us angry depends upon our personal understanding of how we are affected by a situation. “Man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires” (James 1:20). How does our response change a stressful situation? Proverbs 15:1 says that a gentle answer turns away wrath. Being slow to anger quiets contention. Proverbs 19:11 says that it is to our glory that we overlook an offense. God’s love flowing through us can release hurt and feelings of anger instead of holding onto the pain.
We are not advocating “doormat” Christianity—letting people continually control or abuse us. We must stand for what is just and right, but we should not sin in the process. Sinful anger can occur in our hearts and may be expressed by our words and actions.
I want the love that always sweetly bears
Whate’er my Father’s hand may choose to send;
I want the love that patiently endures
The wrongs that come from enemy or friend. –Anonymous