“Love . . . bears all things,” 1 Corinthians 13:7
This little phrase is near the end of the list of qualities that describe love, and I must admit, it is one that I had not given a great deal of study to prior to this writing. The obvious question that comes to mind is, what does it mean to have a love that bears all things? What does it look like lived out in daily life?
I pulled out the concordance and began to do a bit of research . . . the Greek word for “bears” is ‘stego’ which translated means “to cover closely (so as to keep water out), generally to bear up under” (Taken from the Zondervan NASB Exahuastive Concordance).
In the New American Standard Bible (NASB), this word ‘stego’ is used but four times, once here in 1 Corinthians and three other times it is used and translated as ‘endure’.
A concordance that we have on the computer defines this word ‘stego’ as:
1. deck, thatch, to cover
a. to protect or keep by covering, to preserve
2. to cover over with silence
a. to keep secret
b. to hide, conceal
1. of the errors and faults of others
3. by covering to keep off something which threatens, to bear up against, hold out against, and so endure, bear, forbear.
The meaning of love bearing all things is deep and broad and is an aspect of love often neglected. When thinking of love bearing all things in regards to its defining, one thought that comes to mind is forgiveness. In fact, it is deeper than that for it not only forgives in the heart, but seeks to cover over the wrongdoing of another.
Questions come to mind in relation to this . . . how many times when we are wronged do we go and tell others about it? How many times do we hold onto the memories of the wrongs done against us and then bring the sins of others back up to them . . . “but you did” . . . ? How many times by our attitude and countenance do we let those around us know that what they did/said angered us?
While this is the natural response of the fleshly nature, it is the opposite of a pure and godly love; opposite of the love that God calls His children to display in their lives. It is a heart that is thinking more of oneself than serving others and the Lord.
God has called us, as believers in Christ, to be long-suffering, to be forbearing with others. To have this love that bears all things . . . and it is by our love that others will know that we are of Christ: “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).
Different circumstances often arise in our lives that give us the opportunity to show this beautiful aspect of love of forbearing . . .
-Angry words . . . the response: forgiveness, gentleness, words of love.
-Dirty clothes on the floor . . . a heart of delight in picking them up.
-Gossip and slander being spread about ones’ self . . . trusting in the Lord; forbearing and not retaliating.
-The dishes are piled high in the sink . . . love and service shown through cheerfully tending to them.
-A car cuts one off on the highway . . . forgiveness and grace.
-Mud tracked on the newly cleaned floor . . . a smile and a rag quickly cures that situation.
-Persecution for one’s faith . . . remembering that it is the Lord who holds us in His hand and persecution is promised to those who love and serve Christ; response to the persecutors: love, forgiveness and service, turning the other cheek.
The list could go on and on . . . and while most of the above are little things, love that forbears should extend to all situations that we may encounter. (Granted there are definitely times for rebuke, correction, and discipline which is beyond the scope of this writing.)
To our families, our friends, our brothers and sisters in the Lord, and all others that we come into contact with, may the love of Christ, complete with bearing all things, be shown and expressed to them. May it come springing forth from a heart consecrated to the Lord.
“Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth . . . This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us” (1 John 3:18 and 23-24).
-Posted by Sarah