1 Corinthians 13:
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
I may be a great speaker (or writer). I may have the gift of the gab and be able to wield words to change the world. But if my words are not supported by actions, they are empty and worthless.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
I may be wise. I may have discernment. I might be full of faith and that steady constancy that comes from truly knowing absolute truth. But if I do nothing with that faith – if that faith does not motivate intentional action – I may as well not have it at all. I am nothing.
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profits me nothing.
In other words: love is more than giving things to those in need. That IS love in action – but only a part of it.
So what IS love, then?
4 Love suffers long, and is kind;
I will be patient. I will be kind. I won’t get angry and frustrated with small, perceived slights. I won’t say unkind things to or about you. Even when the truth is painful, I will share it gently, with love, grace, and compassion.
Love does not envy; Love does not promote (vaunt), is not puffed up,
I will be delighted by your success. I will root for you. I am on your side, and I genuinely want your best for you. I will not compete for what is rightfully yours. I will not behave in way that makes it seem like I am better than you. I am no better than you. I will not show off. I will share my achievements with you in a humble and excited way – a way that motivates us both to be the best we can be. And I hope you will do the same , so that I can celebrate with you.
5 Love does not behave itself unseemly, does seek not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil;
I will not be rude. I will not embarrass you. I will not belittle you. I will not use you for my own gain. I will not get irritated by the little things. I release all that is unlike love. I will not ascribe to malicious intent that which can be explained by – frankly, anything else at all. I will always assume positive intent. I will look at you (and everyone) that way I would look at my beloved children. Everyone needs to be loved the way a mother loves her children.
6 Love takes no pleasure in sin, but rejoices in the truth;
When you do something that is not good for you, I won’t be happy for you. I will always be on your side. I will support you no matter the choices you make or their outcome. But I will gently and compassionately let you know if the course you’re on is headed for your destruction. I love the truth and I love you enough to share it with you. I will say the hard things, and I hope you will be able to forgive me if they cause pain. I have no intention of that.
7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endured all things.
I will share your burdens and bear your slights if I am misunderstood. I will believe what you tell me, because I love you. (Please don’t lie to me: you have my innocent trust.) I will always hope for the best for you. I will always hope for restoration. I will stand by you.
8 Love never fails
No matter how hard, I will be here.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.