If you’ve ever been to a Christian wedding in America, it’s highly probable that you’ve heard the famous Bible verses on love. 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 (CEB) says, “Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant, it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints, it isn’t happy with injustice, but it is happy with the truth.”
Believe it or not, this verse wasn’t written specifically about the love between a husband and wife, although it clearly has its applications there. This passage was written about the love between brothers and sisters of the Christian faith. “This attachment may include warm emotional affection, but it doesn’t have to. Most important, love involves a commitment to and concern for the well-being of others to whom one is attached” (Common English Bible). Simply said, this is how we should love everyone.
Corinthian Love Toward our Friends
Of course, if we love our friends, we try our best to be patient and kind with them. We celebrate their victories instead of being jealous of them. When it’s us who are on a winning streak, we don’t brag about it. We aren’t arrogant or rude with our friends – that is, if we want to keep them! When we really value a friendship and want to keep it healthy, we mustn’t be only “takers.” We aren’t irritable with our friends, and we don’t hold grudges. Pretty basic stuff, right?
But that last sentence in verse six should really catch your attention. I think it is something missing in many friendships that I witness today. It says, “It isn’t happy with injustice, but it is happy with the truth. The Christian Standard Bible says, “Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth.”
Being a Good Friend Means Telling the Truth
Are you willing to tell your friends a hard truth when they need to hear it? Or are you the type of friend who is more likely to tell someone what they want to hear to keep the “feel goods” going?
Many years ago, one of my friends decided she didn’t love her husband (and father of her six children) anymore and had fallen in love with another man. All her other friends told her to “follow your heart” and “you deserve to be happy!” When she called me, I told her she needed to cut ties with this new man and honor her commitment to her husband and family. She followed the feel-good advice from her other friends and broke her family apart. Out of her shame, she avoided my calls for a long time.
Months later, she called me crying, telling me that none of her “friends” would talk to her anymore. Turns out, they didn’t want to “catch” divorce fever from her. She told me how sorry she was that she didn’t take my advice, but it was too late. To this day, we’re still friends, but her other friendships fizzled out. No surprise there. To this day, I’m the one she calls when she wants to hear the truth, even when it’s hard to swallow.
Love finds no joy in unrighteousness. Do you? Or do you and your friends encourage each other to be more Christ-like? Do you offer to pray for one another, or do you look forward to sharing the latest gossip? Are you iron sharpening iron?
Be a Blessing
One of the greatest blessings anyone can have is a true friend who is willing to tell you the truth and hold you accountable. I don’t mean being a nagging Nancy, or a mothering Mavis. We, adult women, don’t need to be scolded. What we need is someone with a gentle word and a loving heart, pointing us back to Jesus. Are you that kind of friend?
About the Author
Melanie Lemus is the Communication Specialist and resident editor for author Dr. Jeannine Bennett. She lives in Virginia with her wonderful husband and witty daughter. Melanie loves her freedom – in Christ and America. She’s passionate about natural health and homeopathy, and she’s always down to take a hike through the mountains.
Common English Bible, & Green, J. B. (2013). The CEB Study Bible, Brown Bonded Leather.
Common English Bible.