The question is not, “What is love?” as much as “what does love do?” The Bible gives us enough as we read about love to understand love is much bigger than “How do I feel?” Love is more about “what am I prepared to do?” The Gospel tells us in Romans 5:8 that “God demonstrated (showed us) His love for us in that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (the ULTIMATE act of love and obedience).”
So far we’ve considered, just from one verse of Scripture (1 Corinthians 13:7) two aspects of love that we don’t always think about or sing about. First, LOVE ALWAYS PROTECTS. It covers sin. It protects reputations. It refuses to injure. God does not just want to wash away and cover our sin. He wants to protect us from the shame that comes as well. Second, LOVE ALWAYS TRUSTS. Love trusts even if that trust has been injured. Even if the one we love has let us down. Love gives a second chance.
Today let’s consider a third thing love does: LOVE ALWAYS HOPES. It always hopes. It hopes for the best. It hopes for reconciliation. It hopes for the one it loves to do well. It thinks UP of the other person, not DOWN.
Bruce Wilkinson, author of The Prayer of Jabez and several other books, tells the story of the time when he was a teacher in high school. He was told by his principal when he started that he was very lucky because his class was filled with Section A students: The best and the brightest in the school. It should be a delight. With that, Wilkinson began his year with optimism and true to his principal’s word, the class was filled with students who were all A and B students. His other classes, unfortunately, were filled with students who got C’s, D’s, and a few F’s. Mid semester, he was talking to another teacher and mentioned his Section A students. The teacher said, “What are you talking about? They ended that program six years ago. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE IN OUR CLASSES NOW! And Wilkinson learned, as he reviewed his gradebook, the power of optimistic hope.
Love hopes the best for someone. It never loses sight of hope. We can apply this principle to our marriages, to our friendships, but also to parenting. We can “coach our children up” or “put our children down.” And they will do just as you expect of them. As we think about how this works in our marriages, our expectation, more than almost anything else, determines the direction and our attitude toward the one we love.
Love always hopes. It believes the best and hopes for the best.
And hope does not make us ashamed because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts. (Romans 5:8)
FOR REFLECTION: Are you expecting UP or DOWN of the relationships in your life?