In the last post, we read the 7 Characteristics of Love. We looked at how each of the characteristics that defined love were decisions we had to make and actions we had to take. As we look at the 8 characteristics that love is not, you will see that the same holds true for them. They are decisions and actions too.
8 Characteristics That Love Is Not
Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all rings, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails — 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
1. Love is not jealous
Another way to say it is love does not envy. Love does not boil with hatred or anger. It does not want what someone else has to the point of wishing they didn’t have it. The tenth commandment says do not covet (Exodus 20:17).
2. Love does not brag
Bragging the act of showing off yourself, your accomplishments, or the things you have. By doing that, you’re making others want what you have. You are causing others to be jealous of you. Boasting in yourself is a way to make yourself look superior to everyone else. That is the opposite of true love. Love should lift others up, not yourself. Love focuses on other people and how you can serve them.
The Bible tells us that if we should boast about anything, we should boast in knowing our Lord (Jeremiah 9:23-24). We should boast not in our wisdom or strength but in the One who created us and desires the glory for who we are in Him and what we’ve done through Him.
3. Love is not arrogant
Arrogance is an attitude of pride. This is where the act of boasting comes from. If we are focused on ourselves and how great we think we are, our words are going to portray that attitude. But love does not have an attitude of pride. Love humbles itself and lifts others up. Love encourages others instead of seeking praise.
4. Love does not act unbecomingly
This is the opposite of kindness. Love respects others and treats them with that respect.
5. Love does not seek its own
Love is not selfish. It does not desire, seek, or require the things that it wants. Love is selfless. It puts the needs and desires of others before its own.
6. Love is not provoked
It isn’t easily angered but is patient. Love also does not irate and provoke others. It doesn’t do anything to try to get someone else angry.
7. Love does not take into account wrong suffered
Love does not take into account a wrong suffered. The greek verb for “account” means calculate. It’s the same word used in Romans 4:8 to talk about God forgiving our sins. Romans 4:8 says, “Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account.” When we repent and He forgives us of our sins, He does not continue to keep a record of our sins and hold them against us. We are forgiven and freed from that sin.
In the same way, we should not keep a record of the sins others commit against. We should not hold it over them. We will become bitter and resentful if we do. Love is more concerned about others than self, so love is quick to forgive and not keep count of a person’s sins.
8. Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness
Love is not happy to hear of unrighteousness, and it’s not happy when people live in sin. Love should com alongside and help that person, instead of trying to look better than that person. Love also does not pass on the news of the sins of others, which is gossip.
Love is hard
Like I said in the last post, loving someone is easy when they are loving you in return. The challenge comes when they are rude, arrogant, and selfish. It’s way easier to say they don’t deserve kindness than it is to keep loving them.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8
We say we want to be more like Christ, but we don’t want to love the “unlovable.” And yet, loving the unlovable is exactly what Christ did when He chose to love us. We have done far worse to Him than our friends and family have done to us, but He never stopped loving us. He loved us so much that He came to earth as a man and suffered separation from God so that we would not have to be separated from God forever.
Love, true love, is an action that is selfless. Love isn’t determined by what others do and whether or not we think they deserve it. None of us deserved God’s love, and yet He chose to lavish it upon us anyway. So, the next time you’re angry at your family member, friend, or coworker, remember how much God loves you. Seek a relationship with Him and ask for His help, and He will give you the strength to love others like He loves us.
Your sister in Christ,