The “Love Chapter”
Charity: Generous love, benevolence, giving.
Did you ever think about it? The word “love” never appears in the love chapter. That’s right; First Corinthians 13 never mentions the word love, but the word charity is mentioned 9 times.
The Tyndale Bible, which was a forerunner to the Authorized Version, the King James Bible used the word love. It is thought that the translators of the King James Bible wanted to make it clear that 1 Corinthians was not primarily speaking of romantic love, but of sacrificial love.
Charity, the love of 1 Corinthians 13, most definitely belongs in marriage likely more often than it does anywhere else. Who else should we show more charity to than our husbands? Let us not think that they have all they need. The first Adam was perfect, but not complete. He had a need, and God met that need with a wife for him. The Bible says that it is not good for a man to be alone. He found a good thing. God created marriage; it was to bless our lives. Together, as one. Men are really quite terrific; God made them and He does all things well. (You could play with that thought and make a really fun and encouraging card for your husband for this weekend or anytime.)
Last week, in “Loyalty” I spoke of the trinity necessary for marriage. Today, I speak of the diversities of love needed for a happy marriage. Each must be nurtured and celebrated. This time we have a trinity of “loves.” Three loves in one make a marriage. In English, we can say, friendship love, erotic love and charity love. Charity love is an “others-first” love.
Charity love in “The Love Chapter” is the same love in John 3:16. It is agape. This love for the world moved God to become the only acceptable sacrifice for me, and you. His death paid a cost. His love paid a cost. How much do we love our husbands? What would we sacrifice for them?
I have seen 1 Corinthians, chapter 13 written on many wedding invitations and programs and I wonder, do they understand what that word “love” means? We are marrying our friend, and looking forward to many years of wedded bliss, beginning with the honeymoon. Marriages are often formed upon friendship love and the romantic love, but the greatest love, spoken of in 1 Corinthians 13, is often neglected and misunderstood.
The need for agape love in marriage will present itself rather quickly. The need for charity love, a sacrificial love, a love that serves your partner’s needs above yours will arise. What will we do with that? What did we do with the call to charity love? That is the love spoken of in First Corinthians, the 13th chapter. That is not an easy love, but entirely a worthy and necessary love.
Charity love is a love we want, but not always one we want to give. It takes a woman of mature faith to bless her husband with charity love. “But what’s in it for me?” That, my dear lady friend, is not a question of a mature Christian. Let us refer to the last verse of this chapter: “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” If we have true faith, true hope, then charity is possible. Grow in grace; it is a lovely characteristic in all areas of life. The book of Proverbs teaches that a gracious woman retaineth honor. This is a solid foundation that will make charity love feel natural because you will be at peace with God and yourself.
Don’t resist giving and doing for your husband, bathing every action in love and prayers. Faith opens the door to hope and these two swing the doors wide open to unreserved charity. The greatest things in life require sacrifice. Our salvation did. Needy and surely undeserving, God extended His life for ours, taking in needy children to become “sons of God.” We are family.
Ladies, this February I do not have a husband to sacrifice for. I do not have the loves of a marriage. Those loves do take work and I will tell you, after about 19 months as a widow, every sacrifice made for Harry was worth it. Sacrificial love can be difficult sometimes, but not always. The years taught me much that I did not know as we formed our family. Friendship, romance and sacrifice, all in love. I cannot help but wondering what marriage-minded young people would do if they realized that the word “love” in 1st Corinthians 13 was a very big word, that had less to do with feelings, than it does with decision and determination… knowing that in faith and with hope, we will reap if we faint not. Stick with it.
As you read this, the Lord has surely put thoughts on your mind of times you loved your husband with charity. Did He prompt you of other areas you might work on?
Let me list a few ideas:
- Are you patient when you think your husband should have done something, or done something differently?
- Are you also kind at those times?
- Do you speak as kindly to your husband as you speak to your friends?
- Are you happy for your husband’s victories or do you secretly think about the sacrifices you have made and the life you did not live?
- Do you make “snippy” comments, with hidden meanings? Do you talk about how wonderful your friend’s husbands are?
- Are you gracious and lovely at home? Do you act the same way in private that you do when others are present? Remember who your covenant was with, your husband – not the neighbors.
- Are you always ready to find fault with your husband?
- Have you developed a habit of thinking the worst of him?
- Do you encourage him, sharing his hopes for the future?
- Is He still your best friend, and lover? Does he know this?
With charity, I encourage you to practice a charity kind of love by choosing an area or two to work on, with prayer in faith and hope. My experience of over 30 years of marriage suggests that a husband wants a happy marriage as much as we do. Men usually make the first move to win a woman; let our actions make make him glad he did.
Scripture says: In all labor there is profit … and nowhere is this more true than in the marriage relationship. W. Mack
A link to my other “love” message …. LOYALTY
Want to make crumpets for Valentine’s Day, a Sunday morning? Easy to do. Make them the day before and toast them Sunday morning. A delicious treat that happens to be easy too.
Idea💡! Make a Valentine’s Day Card! Below are some ideas for what to write … They are screenshots from THE ENCOURAGEMENT BOOK: What to Say When You Don’t Know What to Say.