1 Corinthians 13:4-7
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
This is a well-known verse, yet different parts of this definition of love are so easily forgotten or ignored. At the intersection of the Christian and LGBT communities, let us remember:
Love is patient.
God is okay with things taking a long time. Everyone is on a journey, and God has His own timetable.
Love is not self-seeking.
Doing things that make us feel good about ourselves falls under the umbrella of being self-seeking. For many, taking part in the Chick-fil-A fiasco falls into this category. Participants felt good about taking a stand and advocating for their respective interests. However, to love is to look to the interests of others with a spirit of humility rather than righteousness (Phil 2:4).
Love is not easily angered.
Far too many debates about homosexuality quickly become heated and infused with judgment. This is not righteous anger; it’s about being right.
Love always protects.
Most incidents of LGBT youths attempting or completing suicide are closely linked to bullying, violence, and/or extreme familial rejection. A couple of sobering statistics: Lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers (Massachusetts 2007 Youth Risk Survey). For every completed suicide by a young person, it is estimated that 100 to 200 attempts are made (2003 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey). As Christians, what have we done to protect those who are mistreated?
Love always perseveres.
Perseverance and endurance are both undeniably principal characteristics of biblical love (Psalm 100:5, Psalm 136, 1 Cor 13:7). In the book Love is an Orientation, Andrew Marin reports that LGBT youth and adults alike have often told him, “‘I would have rather had Christians never enter my life than to continue entering in and then leaving’” (p. 142). This is a strong statement, but it emphasizes how important it is for Christians to commit for the long haul.
It is imperative that the Christian’s manifestation of love be aligned with its biblical definition. We have been equipped to love well; let’s do it!