Kind and Patient

Jeff Munroe

Read: 1 Corinthians 13

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity . . . beareth all things. (vv. 4, 7 KJV)

My hunch is that Psalm 23 and 1 Corinthians 13 are the most publicly read chapters in the Bible. Psalm 23 is read at funerals; 1 Corinthians 13 is read at weddings. Psalm 23 provides comfort; 1 Corinthians 13 explains love.

The apostle Paul is known as a prolific writer, but not always a beautiful writer. His theological exhortations can be so complex that even Peter commented that there “are some things in them [Paul’s letters] that are hard to understand” (2 Peter 3:16 ESV).

But in 1 Corinthians 13, Paul sings. His words are beautiful and true. Love is kind. Absolutely. Wise lovers know there are moments where it is more important to be kind than right. Love is patient. The King James Version captures this truth by saying love (which it calls charity) “suffereth long” and “beareth all things.” Both phrases are worthy of deep contemplation, echoing a line quoted in my favorite leadership book by Max DePree: “Leaders don’t inflict pain; they bear pain” (Leadership Is an Art, p. 11). Isn’t Paul saying the same about lovers? What does it look like to bear hurt and sorrow in a relationship instead of inflicting these things on the other, whom we love? Paul drops hints, in the marvelous KJV language, that love “doth not behave itself unseemly,” and “thinketh no evil” (v. 5). May this be true of us. —Jeff Munroe

As you pray, ask God to make these beautiful words more than words. Ask that they be your reality.