[Love] does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth.
—1 Corinthians 13:5-6
As Paul continues his chapter about love, he says, “Love does not take into account a wrong suffered.” The Greek word used here is an accounting term that means to put a debit in a financial ledger. My kids make fun of me all the time because I still use checks. The reason I do it is that I like to record the debits in the check register. So at any given moment I know where I am financially.
Record keeping is essential for personal business, but it’s lethal in personal relationships. If you’re always keeping that list of debits, of things people owe you for offenses they’ve committed against you, you’re going to have a hard time keeping harmony in that relationship. Instead, we are to treat other people the same way God treats us. In Romans 4:8, Paul says, “Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account.” Aren’t you grateful that there is no ledger in heaven keeping a list of all of the offenses you committed against God? If you are a Christian, that ledger has been destroyed. The blood of Jesus Christ has erased it.
Next, “Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness.” That doesn’t mean love doesn’t enjoy sin. This verse is talking about how you feel about the misfortune of other people, especially your enemies. The Bible speaks very clearly in Proverbs 17:5: “He who rejoices at calamity will not go unpunished.” We are never to take pleasure in the misfortune of other people. God will not let that sin go unpunished. True love does not rejoice in the misfortune of other people.
Finally, “Love rejoices in truth.” Many people think that if you really love somebody, you’ll withhold the truth to avoid offending that person. But that’s not what the Bible says. If you truly love somebody, you’re going to share the truth. Love means telling people what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. A lot of times we confuse truth and flattery. We’re hesitant to tell people what they need to hear because we don’t want to risk hurting our reputation or hurting the relationship. Yet did you know Proverbs 26:28 says that not telling the truth is a sign of hatred for another person? When you flatter somebody, you’re more interested in yourself than you are in the well-being of that other person. You’re trying to get something out of them. You’re trying to keep a relationship going for your own benefit. You tell them what they want to hear rather than what they need to hear. The truth is the most loving thing you can share with someone. In the end, people appreciate frankness more than flattery. True love will share the truth, even when that truth hurts.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Love Connection,” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2012
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.