A quick hit post, continuing our attempt to understand Love.
In this post we’ll look at a couple more attributes. The next one is kindness. “Love is kind” the verse says. The Greek word is chrēsteuomai, meaning to show one’s self mild, to be kind, use kindness. This is the only place in the entire bible the word is used. The word is a verb, thus the connotation is that kindness is an act. It’s not saying love is static, but instead that love acts in kind ways. Some commentators suggest that Paul is specifically pointing to practicing kindness at the end of patience.
Practical application: when we’re at the end of our rope, even if we’re angry, we don’t move into character assassinations. We refrain from degrading the other person and/or treating them with contempt. We still show love even when we don’t like them anymore.
Next; envy. Love does not envy. Some translations say love is not jealous. It’s rooted in the idea of heating up or boiling with emotion. Another word used as a descriptor is ‘zeal’. People often quote this in relationships where one spouse or the other is jealous of time spent with other people, or the relationship a spouse has with someone outside the marriage. But it’s really not intended that way in this verse. Here again, Paul seems to be aiming at this idea of a kind of love willing to withstand the heat when the temperature in the relationship gets turned up.
Further, unpacking the meaning of envy/jealousy, a distinction is made with respect to the Greek words. “Envy” desires to deprive another of what he has, “jealousy” desires to have the same sort of thing for itself. Envy is directed outward, jealousy is more of an inward thing. Either way, the end result is selfish gain. Thus, we can see again the idea that Love requires self-sacrifice for the sake of our spouse.
Do we even need to continue this study? Its painful already! If you’re like me, you are already starting to ask, “when do I get any benefit from this?”
We’ll get to that. Just not quite yet.