“Love suffers long and is kind (I Corinthians 13:4).
Paul, the apostle, is listing out the fifteen sweet characteristics of love. They remain as fifteen flowers of fragrance in a beautiful garden. Love brings out the sweet qualities of a man and makes him spread out a pleasant smell. The characteristics of love are immeasurable.
Of all the characteristics of love, “Love suffers long” is the first and foremost. If one is with love, he or she can patiently tolerate any amount of cruelties and evils. Love alone can make one show the other cheek after getting slapped on one. Love will not take revenge, and it has the tolerance. Tolerance cannot be defined as cowardice. It is a divine characteristic of magnanimity.
The quantum of love prevailing among the family members forms the basis for its unity and happiness. It is common in our daily life to see family members waiting with love for the anticipated things to happen. Youngsters, waiting eagerly for their marriage to come true, wife anxiously waiting for the husband to return to the family from his evil ways children excitedly waiting for their father returning from abroad and so on.
Abraham Lincoln had an enemy by name Stanton, in politics. He spoke contemptuously and wrote slanderously about famous Lincoln. But Abraham Lincoln did not mention a single word against him.
At this juncture, a war broke out. Lincoln appointed Stanton to the position ‘Minister to War’ to take care of the war and spoke in appreciation of him. This act of love broke Stanton. With full strength, he toiled for the nation and Lincoln. When Abraham Lincoln died, he cried bitterly and witnessed, “Right from the beginning of the world, there has not been a better and loving administrator like Abraham Lincoln.”
Jacob had immeasurable love over Rachel. This love made him toil like a slave, and he was ready to make any sacrifice. He came forward to serve his father-in-law for fourteen long years patiently. The Scripture says, “Israel served for a spouse, and for a wife, he tended sheep” (Hosea 12:12).
God also has placed great love on you and is patiently waiting for your repentance. Will He who gave His life for you, be without concern over you? Will He who shed His blood for you remain without showing sympathy upon you. Dear children of God, will you inherit the characteristics of gentleness and love of Jesus Christ?
To meditate: “The Lord is…longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish” (II Peter 3:9).