What does it mean to say “Love is not rude”? For us, in today’s culture to be rude is to be offensive, impolite or ill-mannered. In the KJV of the Bible it is defined as behaving “unseemly” or “unbecomingly”. The definition for “unbecomingly” is – inappropriate behavior, especially not behaving according to the standards appropriate to one’s position or condition of life.
What is our position? As believer’s we are children of God. What is our condition of life? We are ransomed and have the promise of eternal life. So in the context of this verse, I will be bold enough to say, “love does not act unchristlike” (not becoming to or like a Christian). So then we may say, “Love is acting like a follower of Christ”.
As we have seen in the previous verses and I have discussed in previous posts, Christ’s love is patient, kind, content and humble. The next part of verse 5 gives us even more insight to the love of Christ. It is sacrificial.
“Love is not rude, it does not insist on its own way.” (1 Corinthians 13:5, ESV)
If we are not insisting that things are done our way then we are making a sacrifice of self and intentionally putting others needs before our own. I don’t know about you, but I can tell you that this is one of the hardest things I am called to do as a Christian. We are hard wired to be selfish. Some of it is instinct, most of it is our sinful hearts. I continually get tangled in the web of my own thoughts and desires. And there lies the danger of sin.
“But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” (James 1:14-15, ESV)
So how do we fight these desires to please ourselves? By receiving grace from Christ and paying that grace forward to others in love. And here is an amazing thing about practicing grace, from it comes an abundance of joy and thankfulness, that puts our hearts in a state of self-forgetfulness and springs us into service.
When we understand that we didn’t deserve to be saved by Christ’s life, death, and resurrection we can look upon those who we may think don’t deserve our love and be able to pour it forth abundantly without holding back or expecting anything in return.
A beautiful example of this was seen in the early church just after Christ’s resurrection. They were believing and being baptized by thousands in a single day.
“So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:41-47, ESV)
And again in 2 Corinthians 8, Paul is describing the generosity of those among the churches of Macedonia. Even though they were severely afflicted and poor, they understood the grace of God and had an “abundance of joy” that “overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part” (2 Corinthians 8:2). And this generosity stemmed from grateful hearts for the grace they had received in Christ.
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9)
As you go through the day, turn your eyes upon Jesus and remember the free gift of salvation you have. It will produce great joy in your heart and give you strength to love others as Christ loves you. Not behaving unbecomingly, but as a servant of God. Not insisting in your own way, but generously sacrificing your own self-worth and becoming rich in the righteousness and love of Christ Jesus our Lord.
Questions to ask ourselves:
1. Have you behaved in an unchristlike manner recently? How can you repent and right that wrong? Do you need to ask for forgiveness? Remember to be honest about your sin and not try to justify your behavior in selfishness.
2. What is an area of your life where you constantly insist on your own way? Is it as simple of a thing as having the dishwasher loaded a certain way or something as damaging as overriding your husband in things like discipline of the children or finances? Can you let go of some unrealistic expectations and trust fully in God?