Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Charity (part 2)

"Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;" (1 Cor. 13:5)

4 more installments to help shape our thinking on what is Biblical love. Thus far we can see that charity is composed of very important traits that we can use to examine our hearts in order to see if we have this particular grace. Being a Christian means that God has given us the grace and the ability to exhibit all these characteristics of charity.

1. Doth not behave itself unseemly - as I was studying this with the Bible tools that I have through 'esword' (I'll have to recommend this tool later), I really appreciated what two commentators have to say about this. Allow me to give a little bit of a disclaimer. I don't suggest running to any commentary as the first step to true Bible study. In fact, Commentaries are the some of the last items that should be used for Bible study. NOW to the commentaries. This phrase means "...Not in a manner which deserveth reproach." (Robertson) and "prevent violation of decency..." (Barnes). Adultery, fornication, and any other type of immorality (I think fornication covers everything else though) often masquerades itself as love. BUT the end result of such is a reproach that cannot be wiped away. I believe this verse is a great proof text to help people see the stark contrast between godly love and worldly lust.
2. Seeketh not her own - basically charity is not selfish. When we really have charity in our hearts it is easy to do things for others without expecting anything in return. We are happy to give in order to just be a tool that God can use to be a blessing to others. Again charity is satisfied!
3. Is not easily provoked - Charity enables us to not get irritated so quickly at others. WOW! am I easily provoked. I need to watch out. I need to allow the Lord to work in my life in this area of not being easily provoked. Robertson describes this as "sharpness of spirit." Attitude is one of the hardest thing to teach. Hard YES, impossible, NO. (Wilson) I praise the Lord that HE wants us to and gives us the grace to cultivate charity in our lives. We sure need it (I mean of course, I need it).
4. Thinketh no evil - We need to be careful not to impute bad motives on others. As Christians we have a responsibility to 'think' in a particular way. In this verse we are to 'think' no evil, or we should not pretend like we are mind readers or inner man readers -because we are not. I will admit it is so easy to just think this way, but again, faced with the Word of God, we should change that, and as Christians we certainly can. "Love makes allowances for the falls of others." (Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown) - don't ask me which one said that, it sounds good though.

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