1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Tells us that: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
These are famous words. They’re well known and studied by Christians and familiar to even non-believers who have attended wedding ceremonies where these words were used to instruct the bride and groom on the true meaning of love.
When I consider these words and their practical application for my life what first comes to mind is the need I have to give others the benefit of the doubt. If I start with that premise, with that attitude, then I am far less likely to veer into thoughts and actions which run athwart love. If I’m giving others the benefit of the doubt I’m much more likely to be patient with them, to be kind to them, and to avoid the stress and resentment built into notions that others are acting with anything other than pure motives.
But knowing the advantages of giving others the benefit of the doubt is one thing and actually living it is something quite different. It is only by constantly reminding myself of my own propensity to evil and my own desire for understanding and need for forgiveness that I am able to give others the same benefit as I wish to receive from them. My attitude toward others, my default thought of them, must be one of love. That will not happen without the love of Jesus Christ dwelling in me and informing my innermost attitudes and thinking. The Scripture tells me to “let this same mind be in you which is also in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5) I so want that to be my reality. RMF
Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.