When is the last time you saw an act of true love? Perhaps you might ask, "What is true love?" How would one recognize true love? What are its characteristics?
The answers to those questions are found in God’s word. When the apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Corinth, he described love more by its actions than by a long list of adjectives.
He first described love by saying that it is patient, kind and that it is not jealous. By the word "patient" he literally means that love puts up with a lot. It puts up with people and situations that are very aggravating.
The word "kind" has to do with being sensitive to the needs of others; whether those needs are spiritual, physical, emotional or material and doing what is required to meet those needs.
The word "jealous" as it is used here is a reference to envy. It is the ability to see others get ahead without being adversely affected.
Next the apostle states that "love does not brag." This simply means that it is content to go unnoticed.
Furthermore, it is not "arrogant," which has to do with an inward spirit of pride. One may refrain from bragging but inwardly be filled with all sorts of pride and arrogance.
True love "is not rude." People are considered to be rude when they say and do whatever they feel like saying and doing, without regard for other people. Love is too courteous and respectful of others to be rude or crude.
The apostle Paul further describes true love by saying that it is not "self-seeking." It doesn’t put high priority on always having one’s way. Love is "not easily provoked." In other words, it is not touchy and irritable. Love does not keep a record of how many times it has been wronged.
There are other qualities which are mentioned and those can be found by reading I Corinthians 13. I believe that we have covered enough of the qualities to enable us to recognize what is meant by the word love as it is described by the apostle Paul. Is it any wonder that he concludes this chapter by saying, "But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love." When was the last time you witnessed an act of true love? Or better yet, when was the last time you manifested true love in your words or actions? According to the opening words of this chapter, even if one gave all of his material possessions to feed the poor and even gave his own life in the process, such a thing would be utterly worthless unless it was motivated by true love.