All right we’ve made a lot of progress in seeing what love is. Now let’s close it out with this. Paul concludes this amazing tour through healthy relationships that are filled with love like this. He writes,
7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
He uses a lot of different words there but I’d sum it up like this. I’d say that what Paul is teaching us about love is that love is enduring. Love is enduring. If you’ve got doubt about whether or not your partner is going to stick it out with you, that’s toxic. If they’re creating an atmosphere in your relationship where they could leave anytime they want, where they might not be there until the end, that’s toxic. Then on the flipside if you know that you know that you know that your partner’s not going to walk out on you or leave you hanging. That’s a healthy relationship.
Love never gives up. Can I challenge you in this? Can I challenge you if you’re married to take divorce off the table? Can I challenge you to just not make it an option in your relationship? Now listen I’m not saying that to condemn. We’ve got a lot of divorced people in the church. We’re glad you’re here. Divorced people aren’t loved by God any more or any less than non-divorced people. So I’m not bringing this up to condemn you if you fell short of this already, the reality is for a lot of you the situation that led to your divorce was out of your control. And the Bible does give a few specific instances where divorce is justified. So I’m not saying this to condemn anyone, I’m saying this to help us.
Because in a culture where so little is certain, in a culture where there’s such a pessimistic and overriding belief that marriages won’t make it, we need some couples that will stand together and say “that’s not our story.” We need some couples who will take divorce off the table and say the measure of our love will be that it lasts. The measure of our love will be that we won’t give up on each other. We won’t lose faith in each other. We won’t stop hoping for each other. We won’t quit on each other.
So what do we do with all of this? Well remember what I said at the beginning. If you’re in a toxic relationship and you’re not married, you need to fix it or get out of it. You deserve better than you’re getting. If you’re the toxic one get to work. If they’re the toxic one make them aware of some of the ways you feel the relationship is toxic and see how they respond. You don’t have to stay stuck in a toxic relationship. God’s got so much more for you! As we close this series let me read this whole text over you one last time. The love of God is so powerful. It can change your life. It can change your relationship. Close your eyes and receive this one last time. As I read it one last time I’m going to ask you to think about the one thing that stands out that God is speaking to you about. How’s He speaking to you through this? Where does your love need to grow? Let me read this over you.
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.