When considering the aspect of love that dictates we “bear all things,” it is important to remember another definition of the word.
“Bear” means to endure an ordeal or difficulty.
And, to clarify, endure means tolerating or putting up with something, especially something unpleasant. So let’s replay a few typical real-life scenarios for effect:
Angrily, to a child: “How many times do I have to tell you? The answer is no!”
With disdain to a spouse: “Did you not listen when I said it earlier? Ugh. You don’t pay attention.”
Arrogantly, to a co-worker: “This is the fifth time I’ve had to show you how to do this. I’d think you’d learn by now.”
Do any of these sound familiar? Yes? Probably all of us have responded like this at one time or another. Maybe too often. Do they reflect tolerance? How about patience? Are they excusable responses because of the person we are dealing with or the situation’s difficulty?
Do the phrases sound loving? How about kind? Of course not. And, when we add pride, arrogance, rude, and quick-tempered responses, our “love score” drops even lower. Keeping a record of wrongs just earned us some negative points, too.
Whole-hearted love has a few more requirements, as spelled out in today’s scripture. It has components that define and separate it from all other forms of “love.”
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” (I Corinthians 13:4-5, Berean Study Bible).
Ouch, that really hurt! Bearing all things is a heavy-duty job of wholehearted loving.
Learning to love wholeheartedly means we first have to do aggressive “house-cleaning” on the things that currently reside in our hearts and spirits. Take the nasty, degrading, uncomplimentary, hateful phrases and dump them in the trash. Sweep and mop those negative response tendencies off the floors of our minds. Once it is spic ‘n span clean, decorate with loving, kind, patient, gentle, positive words that will now easily spill from our lips out of the beauty of our hearts. (Repent, renew, transform!)
Once we have “cleaned house,” it should be much easier to “bear all things” and love wholeheartedly!