Whenever I think of a bible verse that describes what loving people should look like, I always think of 1 Cor 13:7 in the KJV which tells us that love…
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. (KJV)
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (NIV)
It comes from 1 Cor 13, the classic passage that describes what “agape” love looks like and how our love should look like as the children of God. It this particular instance, it is worth noticing how we can take a familiar verse like this and develop our own understanding of it, without studying or meditating on it too extensively. Turns out, I had some of my understanding wrong about how it is, we are to love other people.
Love Bears All Things
Whenever I read this phrase, I always have this thought that ‘bearing’ is one of gritting my teeth and enduring lousy behaviour from someone. It turns out the word ‘bears’ all things has a totally different meaning in the Greek. It actually means to cover, as in a roof. It refers to the concept of protection, covering, shielding or guarding, much like a roof would protect you from all kinds of bad weather.
Life brings with it bad weather, storms, hot temperatures or hail and one relies on that kind of coverage when the weather turns bad. It is no different for the loved ones around us who look to those who love them when their weather turns bad. This describes a person who loves them by not jumping ship when the weather changes. Instead, they stick around to help protect us from the storms of life. They keep confidences rather than expose you and talk about your flaws to everyone. They shield you from people and keep guard, praying over you and watching your back.
Love Believes All Things
I was taught that this is to believe the best in someone, which quite frankly, I have always felt sets you up for getting hurt because as much as you may want to believe the best in someone, people let you down. Once again, the Greek showed me a new understanding, “believe” refers to a constant attitude of putting faith in someone or something, a never-give-up kind of attitude to believe for the best.
This love does not act stupid to problems and challenges, personal weaknesses or past mistakes, but hopes and believes for the very best in and of a person in the future. It is an attitude of faith, believing faith in God because with God, there is still hope that a person will become whole, healed, restored, saved, redeemed and right in God’s will for their life. This love believes for this all the time, in a never-give-up-on-you kind of attitude that is based on faith in God, not in the character of the person. This kind of love is often seen in parents, their children may have problems right now, but parents believe, have faith in God, that the best will still be a reality for their children.
Love Hopes All Things
So you hope for good things for someone and in someone, almost like hoping for a blessing, or that they would be blessed. But this “hope” means so much more than this. It says that rather than assuming failure or a bad result in someone’s life, this love expects the best in faith. They not only expect the best, but pray for it and anticipate it, looking for the manifestation of what they are hoping for, to come about in the life of their loved one.
Love Endures All Things
Once more, I have understood this to mean tolerating the behaviour of others and their problems, and ‘enduring’ in the Greek, does refer to someone who is carrying a heavy load. However, it also relates to someone carrying a heavy load that refuses to quit, surrender or leave because they believe they are in the right place, appointed to be there at this time. It is an attitude that says: “I am committed to stay and work it out, regardless of what it costs or how long it takes. I am here to stay!”
It is an attitude that goes against what is natural in us. When things get complicated, or too much work it is natural to say: “I wash my hands of this;” “I am outta here!” or “I am not wasting my time with this.” This kind of love never quits, never gives up, never surrenders. It is the kind of love that has your back when the going gets tough.
So in short, do you love in that kind of way that when the weather in someone’s life changes for the worst, you stick around to protect, shield, guard and cover someone while they are being exposed to bad weather? Are you the type of person that even though a loved one is going down a path that is harmful to them, still believes for what God can do in their life and engages in hope and anticipation to see what God is going to do. Always praying, looking to the very best for them and in them? Are you the person, who stays committed even when it gets hard, costs much and your natural instinct is to make a run for it?
Lord make me a person who loves like that. I declare that I will not judge people for the problems they are having in their lives, but I will start thinking about ways to protect and support them during difficulty. Holy Spirit birth faith in me that believes the best for them, that hopes for them, that prays for them. Give me the strength to stay committed to them until they have victory and have received all that You have planned for them. I declare that my heart never quits, never surrenders and never gives up on people. I bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, endure all things.