Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails… (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8). Love also hopes all things. This characteristic is similar to believing the best in someone but goes a step further. Love expects improvement as time goes by. Hope always deals with the future and when we hope all things we are saying that we believe others are changing for the better! The Amplified Bible of this phrase reads its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances. Agape believes in the God who can change people!
Agape endures all things. The Greek word for endure here in 1 Corinthians 13:7 is the word hupomeno. This Greek word comes from hupo which means under and meno which means to remain. Together it is the picture of a person who remains steady in a difficult place. When the going gets tough this person continues to stand and continues to love.
In trying and difficult relationships the person who loves with agape becomes a real strength to those who through their own hurt are hurtful to others. Agape will allow you to remain through thick and thin; to put up with the biting, hurtful, stinging things that others do to you. Agape love maintains faith that God is working behind the scenes to bring about change in a person who is frankly hard to live with! Endurance will enable you to be kind to the unkind and tender to the harsh.
Here’s another quote that I thought was so good concerning endurance from the book The Life of Faith: To endure is to go through a thing just as though it had not occurred – to be not in the least affected by it. How many of us can and do go through all trying, hurtful, evil things that are on every side as sweetly, calmly, silently, lovingly, and uncomplainingly as if they were all just as if we would like them to be. That is to endure.(1)
The last characteristic of love is that love never fails! 1 John 4:16 tell us that we are to believe the love that God has for us. It is possible to come to the place in life where you believe that live is the best way to live. It is better than selfishness, strife, bitterness, resentment, grudges, anger, and animosity. The love way is the most successful way to live!
1. Mrs. C. Nuzum, The Life of Faith (Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House, 1928, 1956), p. 85-86.