The Family Love Challenge
The “love” chapter from 1 Corinthians 13 is one of the most popular passages in the Bible. It is read at countless weddings and verses from it often grace memes and decorate up social media accounts we spy as we scroll.
Even secular scholars agree that this piece of literature is a beautiful work, flowing in its rhythm and captivating in its cadence. It is actually relatively easy to memorize. However, living out the words is a whole different story!
Let’s pick up the passage in verses 4-8….
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” (ESV)
How would you describe your love for others, especially in your immediate family? Are you a patient soul or do you drum your fingers and tap your toes while you stew and sigh not-so-patiently? Is it hard to bring you to a point of anger or does flying off the handle come much too naturally? Do you keep score with those who have wronged you, ready to dredge up the past and become “historical” to make your point? Ever been rude to someone who also resides within your four walls? How will we—and the members of our families—ever learn to love the way this passage urges us to? Well, here is an idea to help to flesh this out in real life.
First, make a copy of the love chapter on your computer. (The text is written out for you below to copy, paste, and print.) Wherever the word love is used (or its pronoun ‘it’) leave a blank. Hang it on the fridge or in another prominent place. Then, over the next few days until Valentine’s Day, whenever anyone in your house catches someone else in the family exhibiting that particular characteristic of love, they can write that person’s name in the blank.
Maybe your son really wanted to rent a particular movie but decided the family should watch the one his sister desired instead. Yay! Put his name in the blank where it says, “______ does not insist on its own way.”
Did your daughter cheerfully sit through an entire Saturday of basketball games at her brother’s tournament even though she would have much rather been home? Bravo! Place her name in the blank on the line that reads, “______ is patient.”
Get it? Don’t forget mom and dad too! Was dad kind to the grumpy cashier instead of being rude right back? Get out that pen and write away! Did mom and another family member get into a heated discussion and she was tempted to bring up a wrong from the past but, with great restraint, held her tongue? Bravo! Moms name goes on the, “________ keeps no record of wrongs” line.
On Valentine’s Day, gather the family to enjoy a Valentine’s treat. Remove the certificate and read it out loud. The result will be something like this:
“Naomi is patient. Lincoln is kind. Dad does not envy, Mom is not rude . . .”
Be assured that if you take this challenge, God will give you lots of opportunities to practice displaying these wonderful characteristics of love. And you can count on others noticing the change in you as you seek to love out loud.
Here is a sample for you to copy based off of the ESV version of the Bible:
________ is patient and ________ is kind; ______ does not envy and ______ does not boast; ______ is not arrogant and ______ is not rude. ______ does not insist on its own way; ______ is not irritable and _____ is not resentful; _____ does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. ______ bears all things, ______ believes all things, _______ hopes all things, ______endures all things. Love never ends.
Karen Ehman, www.karenehman.com
For meaningful ways to love others well grab a copy of Karen Ehman’s newest book,
Make Their Day: 101 Simple, Powerful Ways to Love Others Well.