The "love" passage has been on my heart lately as I seek to be a more loving person. I'm going for being genuinely loving... which for some reason is really hard for me. I'm good at pretend-loving, or surface-loving people, but often times my heart attitude and my words/actions are not identical.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
What struck me yesterday while reading the love passage again was how many nots are in there. The only positive statements about love are that it is patient and kind, rejoices with the truth, bears/believes/hopes/endures all things. It's like Paul knew that I was going to struggle more with not being certain things.
When I start reading 1 Corinthians 13, I feel OK-- I'm patient most of the time, and kindness? Check!... but then... Love does not envy or boast... ummm... I do that some. Not arrogant... hmmm, my attitude is definitely arrogant on occasion. Rude? I confess, some of my thoughts are just plain rude. (Not that I would ever say rude things out loud... but does that make it any better?) Does not insist on its own way-- ouch. Is not irritable or resentful... I'll just stop here...
I find this passage to be such a check on myself. As I go down the list I see how unloving I really am. And often I see specific character traits and attitudes to ask God to root out of me.
As wedding season has arrived, this passage will no doubt be read at countless weddings across the country... but I encourage you not to view this as a "wedding only passage" -- it's a great tool for becoming more like Christ!