Love is Self-Effacing (does not boast, is not arrogant)
Love is not jealous because it is not prideful. It does not boast, nor is it arrogant. Bragging is nothing more than trying to create jealousy in others!
Proverbs 8:13 The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.
Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
1 Corinthians 1:26-29 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.
God despises pride so much (Prov 6:16-19; Prov 21:4) that he has designed the salvation plan in such a way that no one can be saved while also taking credit for their salvation. No flesh will be able to boast or brag in the presence of God. Whenever we brag about our accomplishments we exalt ourselves and challenge God as the only one who deserves glory. (Isa 48:11)
Love is Self-Restraining (not rude)
Remember that Paul is addressing the Corinthians who had much to be corrected in their church. Paul has already corrected them for permitting an adulterous brother to continue in the church without rebuke. He went on in the eleventh chapter to address their disorderly worship services and their misuse of spiritual gifts in the twelfth chapter.
1 Corinthians 11:21 For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk.
What better picture of rudeness than someone cutting in line for the best food! Rudeness comes about when we put our needs or wants ahead of the desires of others. It seeks to ensure that we are satisfied even at the expense of other people. The Corinthians had developed a pattern of rudeness in their church. In the fourteenth chapter we learn that even during their worship services the Corinthians were vying for the spotlight. True love is not rude but kind, gracious and considerate
It seems like rudeness can sometimes come very naturally to us while courtesy requires extra effort. What can we do to ensure that we remember to be courteous to others?
Love is Self-Denying (does not insist on its own way)
Paul goes on to say that love does not insist on its own way. That is, it is not selfish but concerned about the wellbeing of others.
1 Corinthians 10:23-24 “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. 24 Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.
Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Someone who is overly concerned with their “rights” is likely to overlook the needs of others while he fulfills his own lusts. In the fourteenth chapter of Romans Paul tells us that he would even be willing to forgo eating meat if it meant protecting his weaker brothers from offense. True love is willing to deny itself if it means the betterment of others.
1 Corinthians 6:7-8 To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? 8 But you yourselves wrong and defraud–even your own brothers!
The Corinthians were so concerned with their rights and what was rightfully “owed” them that they were suing one another in secular courts. A loving attitude would have taken a loss before it did anything to harm his brother or the testimony of Christ.
Matthew 20:28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
God is love and Christ is God in the flesh. He is our perfect example of love. Not only did he display his love by dying on the cross for us, but his entire life is an example of how to deny ourselves and how to serve others.
Love is Serene (it is not irritable)
Have you ever found yourself short-tempered with others or prone to outbursts of emotion? Another characteristic of love is that it is irritable. The book of Proverbs praises those who are slow to anger and has few kind things to say about a man who is angered easily.
Proverbs 16:32 Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
Who are the successful ones in this life? Generally those who outpace their competition, defeat their enemies or who rule over others. Proverbs tells us that God has a different measure of success. The one who controls himself is far greater than the one who controls others.
Proverbs 25:28 A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.
A person who is angered quickly is susceptible to all kinds of provocation. He allows himself to be severely affected by even small irritations. His spirit is like a city that has all kinds of enemies coming and going as they please and leaving destruction in their wake.
Proverbs 14:17 A man of quick temper acts foolishly, and a man of evil devices is hated.
A man who loses his temper makes a fool of himself. He shows others that he has no control over his emotions. His outburst may last only a few moments, but his reputation for behaving foolishly takes much longer to fade.
Proverbs 22:24-25 Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, 25 lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.
The above proverbs teach us that a quick tempered man is inferior (16:32), foolish (14:17), and friendless (22:24-25). On the other hand being slow to anger is a virtue to be praised.
James 1:19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;
How many altercations could be avoided if we learned to be quick to listen to what others are saying and slow to offer our opinion? Listening to others involves understanding their position or seeing things from their perspective. Love is quick to consider what others are saying and slow to speak its mind.
It may be that we have suffered a legitimate hurt or offense. Are we then justified in responding with anger? Proverbs 19:11 tells us, The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression. The word “defer” here brings with it the idea of “prolonging.” As we have already learned, love is longsuffering, but more than that, the loving person is able to overlook offenses committed by those whom he loves (Luke 23:34; Acts 7:60).
Love is Sparing (is not resentful)
The Greek word logizomai (resentful) can mean “to take an inventory of perceived unfairness”. Many marriages and other relationships fail because one or both parties carry with them a history or an inventory of unforgiven hurts. 1 Corinthians 13:5 indicates that the loving person is not resentful and does not keep a record of wrongs committed against them.
This is the type of forgiveness that God offers to us (Rom 4:8; 2 Cor 5:19). It is a love that not only forgives and forgets, but forgives and deliberately chooses not to recollect past hurts (Ps 103:12). What else leads to bitterness and resentment but repeatedly dwelling on past hurts?
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
What may be some tell-tale signs that someone is keeping an inventory of past hurts?
Love is Sympathetic (does not rejoice in wrongdoing)
Love does not “rejoice in wrongdoing.” That is, love does not celebrate the sins of others. It is not pleased when others fail or fall. Proverbs 24:17 tells us that we should not even rejoice when our enemies fall.
Proverbs 24:17-18 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, 18 lest the LORD see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him. (see Job 31:29)
Proverbs 17:5 Whoever mocks the poor insults his Maker; he who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.
The Germans have a word for this, it is schadenfreude. It literally means to obtain enjoyment from the troubles of others. One of the clearest examples of this is the gossip. The gossip is one who delights so much in the failures of others that he can’t wait to spread the news. He repeats the story of the sins of others so that he himself can look better. How can we love someone and rejoice when they fail or fall? We can’t. These two attitudes are irreconcilable.