If you've been following my blog at all, you know I've been writing of my journey into learning to love God's way. This has to be the biggest challenge of my life. Loving God's way, as I'm finding out, is a multi-faceted concept of which I am just learning. When Jesus says the 'road' is narrow He wasn't kidding and finding out about this has just made it more narrow and steep. It's beginning to pinch!!
When I read 1 Corinthians 13, I realized I needed to find out what some of the words meant in the original Greek language.
The first one I looked up is verse 7: "Love bears all things". What I thought it meant was to 'handle' things, bear up under the weight of things that negatively affect me. You know, keep a stiff upper lip, forgive them, refuse to be offended, the 'sighing' martyr . . . . honestly eh???
What it means is:
1) deck, thatch, to cover
- - - a) to protect or keep by covering, to preserve
2) to cover over with silence
- - - a) to keep secret
- - - b) to hide, conceal
- - - - - - 1) of the errors and faults of others
3) by covering to keep off something which threatens, to bear up against, hold out against, and so endure, bear, forbear
I can see I fail to love well when it comes to 'bearing' with life's stuff, especially under definition 2.1: to cover over with silence of the errors and faults of others. I don't keep quiet at all! What I do is tell a caring listener of the incident and hope they sympathize and agree with me. How utterly horrid. The motive behind that is to find someone to agree with me that I'm quite justified in feeling angry and hurt, hoping said listener will agree that I deserve better thus justifying my very own pity-party.
I am so not a nice person!!!
When I look back and see those past incidents, trust me there are many, I see how such 'venting' has caused a downward spiral into gossip, hatred and bitterness which in turn drags the listener into my angst causing them to take up offense on my behalf which causes them to sin!! My talk causes others to sin, hokey . . . . the weight of that truth . . . .
If not for God's gift of forgiveness, I would be a most bitter and angry woman, but I see now I need to pull up my bootstraps and choose to love others in a way that is pleasing to God. In 'to bear all things', rather than venting to others, those wonderful people who love me and want to support me, I need to go vent to God and ask Him to comfort me and give me grace 'to bear' with the sins of others. He's the only One who can help me deal with it anyway right? When I've gone to God, I discovered when He was done helping me to 'bear' with it, I ended up filled with compassion for the one who hurt me in the first place and I had love for them. When I vent to others I don't have compassion, I am angry and whether I believe it or not, I seek vengeance in my heart of hearts, expecting God to 'get them' on my behalf. It instills in me a sense of entitlement for that vengeance, after all . . . . I've just been wronged!
That's just not God's way! It's my way, our human way of handling our hurts and disappointments and it causes division, a breaking down of relationships when God is all about restoring and building up strong relationships.
Here are two other verses which support the above meaning of 'to bear; to cover over with silence of the errors and faults of others':
Proverbs 10:12: "Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all transgressions".
1 Peter 4:8: "Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins".
I could write more, but I'll silence myself now and let the word and definition speak for itself. I'll silence myself and let God speak to me.
Blessings to you as you daily learn 'to bear all things' as you love those around you ~
2) to cover over with silence
a) to keep secret
b) to hide, conceal
1) of the errors and faults of others ~ in silent prayer to God.
Right now I have to go and repent for loving others so poorly . . . .