The importance of love could hardly be more emphatically stated by the Bible. Love should encompass every area of our lives and be the basis of all that we do in relating to people. Other personal qualities reflective of love are also regularly applicable in our relationships with other people (and are also discussed in this section).
Note that the teaching in this and the subsequent chapters in Part G. Relating to People is also relevant to the preceding part of this book, Part F. Church Life.
Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious. Love does not brag, it is not puffed up. 5It is not rude, it is not self-serving, it is not easily angered or resentful. 6It is not glad about injustice, but rejoices in the truth. 7It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NET
In v. 7, “believes all things, hopes all things” means that love: “…is ever ready to believe the best of every person” and that “its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances…” (AMP).
[An expert in the law, to Jesus:] “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29Jesus answered, “The most important is: ‘Listen, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31The second is: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:28b-31 NET
[Paul, speaking of the way of love:] And now I will show you a way that is beyond comparison. 13:1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but I do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2And if I have prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3If I give away everything I own, and if I give over my body in order to boast, but do not have love, I receive no benefit. … 13And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 12:31b; 13:1-3, 13 NET
As you have heard from the beginning, his [God’s] command is this: Live a life of love. 2 John 1:6b NCV™
Live in love as Christ also loved us. He gave his life for us as an offering and sacrifice, a soothing aroma to God. Ephesians 5:2 GW
Everything you do should be done in love. 1 Corinthians 16:14 NET
Do not take revenge on anyone or continue to hate him, but love your neighbor as you love yourself. I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:18 GNT
Owe no one anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. 9For the commandments, “Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not covet,” (and if there is any other commandment) are summed up in this, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:8-10 NET
The whole moral law – all that involves our relationships with other people – is summed up by the command to love others as we love ourselves. In doing so, we fulfill or carry out the law.
[Jesus:] But I say to you who are listening: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. … 31Treat others in the same way that you would want them to treat you. Luke 6:27-28, 31 NET
Mercy involves such things as: not penalizing those subject to one’s judgment and retribution (due to things like wrongful action or debt); and doing more than one is bound to do in helping others. It is showing kindness beyond what is required of one or is otherwise considered fitting.
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:36 NET
You must see that justice is done, and must show kindness and mercy to one another. Zechariah 7:9b GNT
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Matthew 5:7 NET
The final clause refers to being shown mercy by God.
If you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, your Father in heaven will forgive you. 15But if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15 CEV
Do not judge others, so that God will not judge you, 2for God will judge you in the same way as you judge others, and he will apply to you the same rules you apply to others. Matthew 7:1-2 GNT
We will all face God’s judgment but the above passage speaks of the same condemnatory standard of judgment being applied by God to those who exercise it themselves.
[Paul, instructing Timothy what to teach believers:] Tell them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, to be generous givers, sharing with others. 1 Timothy 6:18 NET
All day long he [a lazy person] continues to crave, while the righteous one gives without holding back. Proverbs 21:26 ISV
[Paul, to believers:] I, therefore, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live worthily of the calling with which you have been called, 2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, … Ephesians 4:1-2 NET
[Jesus:] You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39But I say to you, do not resist the evildoer. But whoever strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other to him as well. 40And if someone wants to sue you and to take your tunic, give him your coat also. 41And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not reject the one who wants to borrow from you. Matthew 5:38-42 NET
The concept of “meekness” involves an approach of non-retaliation and even non-resistance in the face of offences. It is characterized by humility and gentleness.
The command to “not resist the evildoer” (v. 39a) is given in respect to one’s own rights; it is not saying that we should not stand against an evil person on behalf of others. The illustrations that follow (vv. 39b-42) show that one should not retaliate and not insist on one’s rights. Some commentators view these as hyperbole, while others consider such a view to be watering down the extent of what is being taught.
Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. Psalms 34:14 ESV
Do everything possible on your part to live in peace with everybody. Romans 12:18 GNT