Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a.
If I were to describe an elephant to you, I wouldn’t start with details about its tail. Instead, I’d start with something like “It’s big” or “It’s gray.” When we make a list describing something, we start with the most important, relevant details. Paul begins a list describing the characteristics of godly love in 1 Corinthians 13 with “charity suffereth long” so, in his mind, it must have been one of the most important characteristics of godly love.
“Charity suffereth long”; I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to suffer. However, one of the primary characteristics of Christian love is its willingness to suffer for a long time. Christian love makes up its mind that it is committed to a relationship ahead of time, whether it be to God, a spouse, other believers, or sinners. The only question for this love is how to sort out and work at the relationship. The thought of quitting on the relationship is never entertained.
Suffering also requires us to put ourselves second to someone else’s desires. If I get everything I want, then I will certainly not be suffering.
As we work to live out godly love ourselves, may we be reminded of and encouraged by the way the Father and Son have loved us. We know that God suffered long for the sake of man. Our sin upset Him, it bothered Him, it was revolting to Him, and yet He did not quit on his relationship with man. From the beginning of God’s relationship with man He was committed to working it out. His Son, Jesus, was willing to put his desires second to accomplish the mission the Father gave Him and provide the redemption mankind needed. Jesus did not relish being despised of men and going to the cross, yet He suffered willingly for His Father and for us.
Let us follow in our God and Savior’s footsteps.
“Oh God, how great and good is Your love towards me. Thank you for the love you have shown. Give me the strength I need to show this same love towards others.”