The 4 Tests Of Real Love
Speaker: Dr. Harold J. Sala | Series: Guidelines For Living | Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
When the cartoonist Charles Schulz dined in the home of a friend, the host remarked that he had just what Schulz needed to set off his dinner jacket. He disappeared and then returned in a few minutes with a heavy chain from which a medallion hung. Across the face of the medallion were the letters L O V E. Schulz fingered it for a few minutes and then handed it back to the host. With a wry “Charlie Brown” smile on his face, he said, “It’s just a little too much for me. Do you have one that says, L I K E?”
In his honesty, Schulz pointed out an important truth. No matter how necessary it is, love is not easy. When Paul wrote about love, nearly 2,000 years ago, he gave us four marks, four characteristics of the real thing.
First, says Paul, “Love is patient.” The patience of love which helps a person wait before marriage also helps him even more after marriage. It helps you put up with the idiosyncrasies of your mate. It is the patience of love which persists when your husband leaves his clothes on the bathroom floor, or your wife leaves the cap off with the toothpaste dribbling out on the sink top.
Paul says that the second test of real love is kindness. Kindness is not weakness, softness, or inaction as some think of it. Rather it is the strength of keeping your mouth shut when you feel like saying what someone else already knows, the strength of character which lets you meet harshness with kindness. Tough stuff, this quality of love which Paul described.
The prominent psychiatrist Karl Menninger was featured in an article entitled, “Love Working Miracles for Mentally Ill in Kansas.” Dr. Menninger contended that love is one of the most effective cures in healing mental illness. When reporters asked Menninger how it was that 80% of his patients recovered, he replied, “The secret is not in electro-shock, surgery, group-therapy, drugs, or any of the conventional treatments of mental disorder. These play a part, but the real secret is contained in a single word: Love!”
Then Paul mentions another test of real love when he says, “Love is not jealous….” Solomon was a man who knew something of jealousy. The record says that he had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines, and he said, “Jealousy is as cruel as the grave” (Song of Solomon. 8:6). That green-eyed monster of jealousy can destroy the warmth of a home as a person constantly questions motives and thoughts. Realize that jealousy is an enemy of real love.
“Love does not brag and is not arrogant.” Did you ever hear anyone say, “He is a self-made man and he worships his creator”? That is the way an arrogant person is sometimes described.
Real love knows nothing of selfishness–it constantly puts the welfare of others above the welfare of oneself. This is one of the evident proofs that much of what is called love today really lacks the ring of genuineness.
The kind of love described by Paul puts aside selfish motives and personal gratification in the interest of the one who is loved. This quality of love was described by Jesus when He said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
The fourth test of love is how you behave towards others. “Love does not act unbecomingly” says Paul. I paraphrase it like this: “Love does not make a fool out of anyone. You’ll find these challenging words in 1 Corinthians 13 of your New Testament. Read these and measure your love life against Paul’s words today.
Resource reading: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7