Our guide for escaping toxic is going to be a great part of Scripture you’re probably familiar with. If you’ve ever been to a Christian wedding ceremony chances are good that you’ve heard this text read. It’s from 1 Corinthians 13, we know it colloquially as “The Love Chapter.” It’s a chapter of the Bible that’s all about love. In it the apostle Paul actually gives us a description of what love is, and isn’t. So that’s going to be our guide for the discussion about toxic today. We’re going to let Paul guide us by telling us what love is and isn’t and take a deep dive into each of the descriptors we get of what love looks like and doesn’t look like. Go ahead and pick it up with me, we’ll just read it all together at once and then we’ll break it down. This is 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and it goes like this.
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.
What’s the standard for a healthy relationship? This is it. Listen we’re going to go bit by bit through it but just know this. If as I read that, that doesn’t feel like your relationship, you need to make some changes. Because this is what you deserve. This is what God wants for you. This is what God wants for you because this is the kind of love God has for you. What kind of love? Patient and kind love. Non jealous love. Humble love. Polite love. Respectful love. Self-giving love. Selfless love. Gentle love. Joyful love. Forgiving love. Enduring love. Won’t walk out on you love. That’s what God has for you. That’s what God wants for you.
So here’s what we’re going to do now. There are 15 different descriptors of what love is in this power packed little chunk of Scripture. Some of the 15 repeat themselves or are part of larger groups so our list is going to be a bit narrower. I want to take time to work through seven descriptors on this list of what love is, and by extension, isn’t to help you get a picture of the kind of love God wants you to experience. Does that sound all right? We’re going to just go verse by verse here, verse by verse to discover the kind of love that God has for you and consequently the kind of anti-love, the kind of toxic love that He wants you to get free from.
Here we go. Let’s start at the beginning. Read the first pair with me. The first thing Paul says is love is patient. Love is patient so that means toxic love is what? Toxic love is impatient. How much patience is present in your relationship? One Bible scholar I was reading this week said that this word patience conveys the idea of “long suffering” when you see how else the word is used in the New Testament. What is long suffering? Long suffering is a trait in a relationship where you’re willing to stick it out through challenges. There are other words Paul’s going to use shortly that get at the same idea but for now it’s this one. Love is patient. Love is long suffering. Toxic relationships are impatient, and short suffering.
With each one of these characteristics of love I’m going to show you how God exemplifies them. God is love so if we get a picture of love here in 1 Corinthians 13 we’re really getting a picture of God. How does the Bible talk about the patience of God? How’s it talk about the long suffering nature of God? My favorite example is 2 Peter 3:9. In this verse Peter is talking about why Jesus hasn’t come back already. People are wondering. He’s been dead a little while, where is He? I thought He said He was going to come back. Here’s how Peter responds.
9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.
Man I’m so grateful that I serve a patient God. So let me ask you love is patient, toxic love is impatient. How much patience is present in your relationship? Let me give you some warning signs of impatience. Here are some warning signs that you might be in a toxic relationship on this patience issue. Is your dating history or your partners dating history marked by quick relationship after quick relationship? Or is it marked by longer term steady relationships? That’s something you want to be aware of. Quick relationship to quick relationship could be a sign that there’s not much patience present in them.
Here’s another one. How’s your partner respond to you going slow? Do they bite your head off, or are they patient? Come on guys you know you’re going to need to practice this one a lot. Kayli’s slow. She’s not in here to defend herself but you can tell her I called her slow. Straight up. Now if she were here she would say she’s not slow, she’s prepared. That’s true! I jump out of the car I’m good to go but I’ve got absolutely nothing with me that we’re going to need for it to be a successful trip out. Meanwhile she’s coming along slower behind me because she’s actually prepared. I’m not going to pretend like I never get on her about it and get impatient. But what’s the pattern in your relationship? Is patience present?