Have you ever watched the slap-stick of Charlie Chaplin, Red Skelton, and Jerry Lewis? In slap-stick comedy, an actor makes people laugh with his make-believe misfortune. On shows like “Funniest Home Videos” or “Ridiculousness,” it’s the not-so-make-believer hurts of people that seeks a laugh from the audience. Life-giving love doesn’t take its cue from these shows when seeking to build healthy, satisfying relationships.
“[Love] does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth.” (1 Corinthians 13:6, NKJV)
1. Love never takes delight over the mistakes of others.
Life-giving doesn’t rejoice in iniquity. It refuses to delight over the misfortunes of others. The term for “wrong-doing” (adikia) is a general term that can point to anything from a violation of the law to injustice to deceit. It is a picture of seeking personal glory rather than God’s. For love to be love, it must refuse to delight in the sin that others embrace. We don’t giggle or grin when they walk a path that is contrary to what God wants. Love is never gladdened when someone else falls.
2. Love delights itself in the right things shaping the heart of the other.
Life-giving love rejoices in the truth. It delights itself in the right things shaping the heart of the other. This is the intense, passionate desire for truth to come alive in the hearts of the other. Love rejoices when those we love live each moment in concert with the truth of the gospel. Love looks for victories instead of failures. Love looks for forgiveness offered instead of bitterness harbored. Love looks for kindness given rather than selfishness embraced.
To experience love in our relationships that produces satisfaction, our love has to be the kind of love that celebrates all those things in the lives of the other that brings God pleasure. Our love takes delight in the deeper things that bring a smile to the face of God.
Our love is on the right track when we long for the salvation of the ones we love. Our love is on the right track when we rejoice over obedience to God in the one we love. Our love is on the right track when we rejoice over the brokenness of the other (Ps 51:16-17). It delights when the other displays a heart broken before God in confession and surrender.
How can we love others like that? Stop. Take a breath. And pray:
“Father, nourish my soul today with Your love so that I can love others the way that You have loved me.”