We all know the expression, from Scripture, that "love is patient, love is kind;
Quite a bit there. No passage more important. A formula for Heaven. In fact, for those tired of hearing about love (something we should never tire of), just keep in mind that virtually every person who has had a "near death experience" says that how much they had loved during their lives was the first issue raised by God in evaluating their lives.
But there are other aspects to love (besides what is so brilliantly delineated in 1 Corinthians), some of which we may not associate with it. For example:
Love is appreciative.
Love appreciates every opportunity and offering in life -- large or small. It is gracious. It is grateful. It's polite. It thanks constantly -- especially the Lord.
Hard for all of us to do, but we must not try to rationalize wrong actions.
Love opens the door for others -- is courteous, has an attitude of service, thinks much of others (more than self) -- and smiles with authenticity.
It's not just curling the mouth northward and displaying bright teeth.
Love is truth and sets us free. Love laughs at one's own mistakes. (That humility thing again. We all could use some correction!)
Love is also not easily slighted.
In fact love suffers insult as an opportunity to love under difficult circumstances. Love loves tests. It sees God's Plan.
And for that reason: Love clarifies.
It grants us clear vision. It is both telescopic and microscopic, viewing at great distances, or impossibly close. Love is never blind!
Love is also considerate.
When we're driving and not paying attention to other drivers -- taking our time, perhaps on a cell phone, lollygagging to such a degree that the person behind us gets caught in a red light, or pulling out in front of a person, causing a disruption in their driving: this is not considerate.
It is not love. It is also not love to put a matter off when someone rightly asks you to do something. It is not love when we ignore the truth of a circumstance. Not loving includes neglecting to see another's perspective. It is never contemptuous.
Love may be corrective.
Some call this "tough love."
But it's not always so much tough as direct. We're not speaking about harshness, shouting, criticality, nor judgmentalism (all of which are the opposite). Love is definitely not judgmental! Painting a person in dark shades is hardly love. But we are speaking about taking action when a person is jeopardizing himself or others.
Thus, love is not tolerant of everything. Our society doesn't "get" this. We think that loving a person is tolerating anything a person does or has become. That's foolhardy. In fact, over-tolerance is just the opposite of true love. It is shirking a responsibility. Love does not encourage evil to continue.
Admonishments said after prayer (and only after prayer) penetrate in the right way because the Holy Spirit is involved. (You'll be amazed at the effect! Words will be placed on your lips. An issue may be resolved.)
Love also listens.
When all we do is talk -- when we are nattering, when we "run off at the mouth" as a matter of course and habit -- we're expressing less interest in the other person that we might. Love is "all ears." Love wants to know. Love wants to learn. Love wants to allow another to express himself. (At the least, we should allow for equal time!)
Love listens and sees and witnesses the spark of God -- often His brilliant Light! -- everywhere. Love experiences its deepest earthly expression in affinal relationships -- marriage -- but also in fraternal ones. Love does not limit another person. Neither does love encourage another when there are shortcomings.
In the end, love wants what is best for another person's eternity -- not just what makes him or her "feel good" in the moment (thus the tragic mistake, in our society, of coddling those who are astray). Pray for the "best result" for anyone for whom you may be having difficulty praying (you may be praying for the wrong specific thing).
Love is not falsity. Love is not showy. Love cannot have a superiority complex. Love takes nothing that does not belong to it. Love can't be selfish. Love never hoards. (Thus, love cannot be materialistic.) It's a long list. It goes on forever -- and redounds to exactly that: how we spend out eternity.
[resources: A Life of Blessings]