Rebekah is concluding her post about love! Catch the first part here.
- thinks no evil.
The Greek word here for “evil” is “kakos” and is defined as:
- of a bad nature
- not such as it ought to be
- of a mode of thinking, feeling, acting
- base, wrong, wicked
- troublesome, injurious, pernicious, destructive, baneful
Is this how you view your husband? Granted, you married a fellow sinner, so it could be that he is some or all of these things from time to time. But do you regularly view him this way and entertain thoughts of him being wrong, wicked, and troublesome? Or do you intentionally focus instead on the good qualities he has? When you are tempted to think evil of your husband, do you nip that thought in the bud and shift your thinking to what makes him a good man? Are you negative and prone to tearing him down, or positive and dedicated to building him up?
- does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth.
The Greek word here for “iniquity” is “adikia” and is defined as:
- injustice, of a judge
- unrighteousness of heart and life
- a deed violating law and justice, act of unrighteousness
Likewise, the Greek word for “truth” is “alētheia” and is defined, in part, as:
- truth as a personal excellence
- that candour of mind which is free from affection, pretence, simulation, falsehood, deceit
This can be a challenging concept, because what is being said here is that we do not take joy or rejoice when our husbands do things that are wrong, but instead rejoice when truth is shed on the matter and the issue is brought to the light. Again, this is not referring to you airing all his dirty laundry! It is, however, showing us that we need to not be partaking in those areas of sin in our husband’s life, even those areas which may appeal to us, such as certain forms of entertainment. And as hard as it is when secret sins in your husband’s life are exposed or the sins you enjoy have to be rejected, true love nevertheless rejoices in the truth as God defines it. Does this describe you in your relationship to your husband?
- bears all things.
The Greek word here for “bear” is “stegō” and is defined as:
- deck, thatch, to cover
- to protect or keep by covering, to preserve
- to cover over with silence
- to keep secret
- to hide, conceal
- of the errors and faults of others
Now I want to make something abundantly clear here, and say that this is not applicable to those of you who have truly abusive husbands who are daily putting you in danger. If you are in a situation like that, you need to expose your husband’s sin so that he can get help and you can seek shelter. That is serious. For the rest of you, however, who are not in a situation like that, this goes back to the importance of not airing your husband’s dirty laundry. We are to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mathew 22:39) and treat others as we desire to be treated (Matthew 7:12). Who is your husband, but your closest of neighbors? Do you treat him that way? Do you look past his petty sins and seek to point Him to the Lord in grace and love? Do you choose to believe and focus on the best in him?
- believes all things.
The Greek word here is “pisteuō” and is defined as:
- to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place confidence in
Again, this is not for those of you who are in repeatedly unfaithful or dangerous marriages. There is no virtue in naivety or remaining in a dangerous situation when counsel and shelter are what need to be sought. However, for the rest of you, are you placing confidence in your husband? Does he feel your confidence? If you are building your husband up, making him feel that you have confidence in his wisdom, abilities, smarts, and perspective, it will make a difference in the kind of man your husband is! Love must be built on trust. Is yours?
- hopes all things.
The Greek word here is “elpizō” and is defined as:
- to hope
- in a religious sense, to wait for salvation with joy and full confidence
- hopefully to trust in
Ultimately, our ability to love another person comes from Christ, and our hope is ultimately in Him and His ability to bring good from all things. It does, however, do wonders for our husbands when they feel our trust and confidence in them. When they have that, they feel as if they could move mountains. Is this how your husband feels? Does he know you hope in him? And, if you don’t, how can you build up your hope in your husband, while remembering that the basis of that hope is in Christ?
- endures all things.
The Greek word here is “hypomenō” and is defined as:
- to remain
- to tarry behind
- to remain i.e. abide, not recede or flee
- to persevere: under misfortunes and trials to hold fast to one’s faith in Christ
- to endure, bear bravely and calmly: ill treatments
Here and in the word which follows we find the gist of the matter. Marriage is not about committing to another person as long as they make you happy and then hightailing it out when they fail to do so. Marriage is about enduring, remaining, refusing to leave when your husband wakes up one morning and barely resembles the man you married. Are you fully committed to your husband? Are you willing to keep on keeping on until death parts you? Even if you would never dream of entertaining the thought of divorce, are you nevertheless acting sometimes in the day to day of your marriage as if you aren’t willing to endure all things? Does your husband know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are in it for the long haul?
- never fails.
Lastly, the Greek word here for “fails” is “ekpiptō” and is defined as:
- to fall out of, to fall down from, to fall off
- to fall from a thing, to lose it
- to perish, to fall
Sometimes when folks divorce, the reasoning they give is that they simply “fell out of love”. That, my friends, is not love. You don’t just “fall out of” true love. Love is of God and God’s love is unchanging, unwavering, long-lasting, patient, gracious, and endures to the end. When we begin seeking our own, mistakenly believing the purpose of marriage is to make us happy and fulfill all our yearnings for love and acceptance, we have missed the boat entirely. The purpose of marriage is to provide the watching world with a picture of the relationship between Christ and His bride, the church (see Ephesians 5:22-33). And that relationship never runs low on love! Are you living out your daily life with the mindset that your love for your husband will never fail? Are you viewing him as the church is to view Christ? Are you refusing to view love as an emotion that you simply run out of? Does your husband know he is yours no matter what?
Learning to Love as Christ Loves
I know what you’re thinking now – “How on earth am I supposed to love my husband like that??” It’s a legitimate question, because on your own, you can’t. You still have a sin nature and continue to battle the flesh on a daily basis. The key to being able to love your husband in these ways is to not keep your eyes fixed on your husband, but rather on Christ:
I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish…. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. -Galatians 5:16-17, 22-26
Take heart, friend. As you purposefully and intentionally seek to walk in the Spirit, you will find it becomes easier and easier to love your husband with the kind of love you see described in 1 Corinthians 13. It truly is possible! Look to Christ, and you will see your marriage strengthened as you exemplify 1 Corinthians 13 in action.
God bless you, friend!