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1 Corinthians 13:6-7

“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Signs of broken relationships dot the landscape of our culture, and the pain of divorce and abuse is unavoidable to any observer. Talk-show hosts and other amateur counselors and gurus of the self-help movement are authorities to whom people flock as they look for the secrets of forming and maintaining good relationships and getting past griefs from years ago.

The sad reality of brokenness also drives people to denial about how bad things really are in our relationships. This happens even in the church as we do whatever it takes to avoid further disruption, even if it means exalting peace at the expense of the truth. But when we do this, we form superficial relationships, even allowing the root of bitterness to fester (Heb. 12:15).

Unfortunately, many Christians today are willing to tolerate gross sins in the church or to avoid sharing the gospel with unbelieving friends and family because they fear a relationship might be lost. Yet while we should never break fellowship over minor issues or give unnecessary offense when we preach the gospel (Rom. 14:1–12; 1 Peter 3:14–16), we do no one a favor if we tolerate gross sin or never share the truth of Christ with others. Love always rejoices in the truth (1 Cor. 13:6), so it is impossible to love others if we deny sin or fail to tell unbelievers about the Truth Himself.

First Corinthians 13:7 goes on to tell us that love “believes all things,” which refers to the love we must have for that which the Almighty has revealed. Our God is the Lord of truth, and to love Him with our whole hearts and rejoice in the truth requires us to love His Word. Secondarily, “all things” refers to people in general. We are to be a trusting people who take others at their word when they have not given us reason to believe they are lying. As with assuming the best about others, we need to be discerning, but we should always be quick to trust what other people say, especially our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Love also “hopes all things” (v. 7), and the term hope in Scripture does not refer to a vain wish for something that may or may not happen but a settled conviction that God will keep His Word. To “hope all things,” then, is to be confident that we will see the Lord’s immutable promises kept now or in the age to come.

Coram Deo Living before the face of God

All of us have experienced betrayals in our lives wherein somebody did not keep a promise or otherwise violated our trust. When God calls us to be trusting people, He knows that many will betray us, but that does not give us license to refuse to trust anyone in the future. May we ask God to give us good discernment when it comes to trusting others and to equip us to be trustworthy people ourselves.

For Further Study
  • Psalms 42; 119:81
  • Romans 5:1–5
  • Galatians 5:5
  • Titus 1:2

Love and Evil

Enduring Love

Keep Reading Christ in the Old Testament

From the April 2011 Issue
Apr 2011 Issue