The love of God is not an emotional love, but it is love through the Holy Ghost. Just because the love of God is in us doesn’t mean we’re going to act out that love. We have to learn some of the attributes of love so we can put them in action. We don’t have all the patience or kindness of love that we need when we’re first saved. The love of God is an action, a choice, or response to what comes against us. Jesus said all men will know we are his disciples “…if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35). No one can make you angry or throw a fit. It’s a choice we make of how we respond to circumstances, out of love or out of our own self.
Matthew 18:21-22 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
None of us have had to forgive someone 490 times for the same thing in one day. Jesus answer shows our forgiveness needs to be total, that no matter how many times someone does something against us we will forgive them.
Matthew 18:22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
Jesus told the story about the servant that owed a huge debt and said “have patience with me, and I will pay thee all” (Matthew 18:26-27). The lord was moved with compassion and forgave all the debt, but that servant had a fellowservant that owed him a small amount. The fellowservant said the same thing to him, “Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all…” (Matthew 18:28-9), but he had the fellowservant thrown in prison. His lord was wroth – very angry. We need to be willing to have patience with each other or we’ll end up carrying around a load of unforgiven frustrations. Then something will trigger us to unload all our frustrations on whoever was the last offender. Frustrations need to be handled, not carried, or they become unforgiveness.
I Corinthians 13:4-5 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Envy is jealousy, discontent, ill-will, or hard feelings because of someone else’s success or prosperity.
Matthew 27:11-18 And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest. And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing. Then said Pilate…Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee? And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly…Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ? For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.
Jesus didn’t carry things when people mistreated him. Jesus didn’t say anything because he was innocent. There are times when it’s best to not defend ourselves but to let God defend us. Envy will eat at us and not produce anything good. Joseph’s brothers hated him because he was their father Jacob’s favorite son. Jacob’s reason that he loved Joseph more was because he had Joseph with his wife Rachel who he loved.
Genesis 37:1-8 And Jacob dwelt in the land…of Canaan. These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report. Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours. And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him. And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more. And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf. And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.
Joseph’s brothers envied him, but Joseph didn’t have an attitude about his brothers. He readily went when his father sent him to see how they were doing as they were herding the flock (Genesis 18:13-14).
Genesis 37:11 And his brethren envied him…
Joseph kept a good attitude, even when he was a slave. Are we a slave to our master? Joseph willingly did whatever his master asked him to do. His master saw it.
Genesis 39:1-4 And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh…bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither. And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand. And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand.
Other attributes of charity are:
- Charity “vaunteth not itself” – doesn’t lift up self, isn’t always talking about self or our accomplishments.
- Charity “is not puffed up” – Pride is what makes people puffed up, but pride causes destruction (Proverbs 16:18). We need to be able to discuss problems when there’s a disagreement. If we insist on our way and won’t even consider another, pride is working.
I Corinthians 13:5 (Amplified Bible) It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured.
- Charity does “not behave itself unseemly” – it isn’t rude and doesn’t keep an account of wrongs suffered. It pays no attention to a suffered wrong.
- Charity “seeketh not her own” – love is not selfish. Charity isn’t conceited, arrogant, and doesn’t insist on its own way. The love of God is not about us, but the love of God will seek to help others.
Some questions we can ask ourselves to see if we are selfish:
- Do I get upset when things don’t go my way?
- Do people who know me best say I am difficult to live with?
- Am I a poor loser?
- Do I get offended easily or am I overly sensitive?
- Does it bother me when I’m prevented from completing my agenda? (Are we considering God’s agenda?)
- Do I persist in doing anything that I know irritates or hurts someone close to me?
- Am I set in my way and nothing is going to change me now?
- When the flesh doesn’t want to love, we have a choice to do what the flesh wants or do we show love?
- Do I get upset when I don’t get my share of something?
- Am I going to insist that something I want is going to be for me, no matter what?
- Am I a chronic complainer or fault finder?
God doesn’t bring up all our wrongs after we’ve repented and God doesn’t want you to bring them up.
- Charity “is not easily provoked” – is not keeping a record of all the wrongs.
We need to forget the wrongs, “forgetting those things which are behind” (Philippians 3:13). If there’s forgiveness in your heart, you will forgive others and leave the wrongs behind. You will think on the good things, “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).
(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Edith Tolbert)