Love Believes All Things

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Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
— I Corinthians 13:7

Love believes all things.  This is not to say that love is naive or gullible.  Neither is it Paul's way of telling us that love is blind.  Rather, this statement informs us that love seeks to see to best in others and to give others the benefit of a doubt. 

As flawed emotional beings, we have a tendency to see offense where none was intended and to ascertain other's motives based on their actions.  The trouble is, we don't see the entire picture.  We can't know what's going on in the other person's head or heart, which means we cannot accurately guess the motive behind their actions or words.  More often than not, our assumptions are based on our own feelings at the particular moment rather than actual facts.  So, when someone says something that could be taken one of two ways, we gravitate toward the negative option. That is the exact opposite of what love does.

So often, words and actions can become muddied by clumsy communication skills or a failure to take the other person's point of view into account.  What I mean by that is that we are all different and communicate in various ways.  For example, when some people are striving to make a point, they will raise their voice.  Love understand this about that person and doesn't take offense by feeling like they're being screamed at.  Other people, when trying to drive home a point, will slow their speech and enunciate each word so as not to be misunderstood.  This could easily lead the other person to think, "You don't have to talk to me like I'm a child or an idiot," which would, more than likely, lead to an argument.  Love would give the benefit of a doubt and understand that the speaker wasn't trying to patronize the listener but to make himself/herself clear and easily understood.

To put it in basic terminology, love doesn't jump to negative conclusions about others.  It believes the best unless there is irrefutable proof to the contrary.  Notice, I said "irrefutable proof" (as in facts), not "uneasy or hurt feelings."  In fact, there would probably be a lot less hurt feelings if we would believe the best about others' actions, words, and intentions instead of always assuming the worst.  Not only would it save a lot of heartaches, but it would also cut down on arguments and misunderstandings.

Lastly, let me remind you that the love Paul is discussing in this chapter is agape love.  This is the truest form of love and is directed toward everyone, not just husbands and wives.  So, the next time your coworker looks at you funny or your family member says something that strikes a nerve with you, unless there is proof of negative feelings or malicious intent, believe the best, and let it go.  Don't take offense.  Don't try to figure out what you said or did that would cause them to not like you.  And certainly, don't try to find a way to get back at them.  Assume responsibility for the misunderstanding and shake it off.  Then go about your day in peace, believing all things in love!