Love Is Not Proud or Arrogant

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Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
— I Corinthians 13:4

"Vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up."  Vaunt is not a term we use much in today's language, and neither is puffed up (unless we're talking about pastries, yum).  So, to put it in 2018 lingo, both "vaunt" and "puffed up" refer to boasting or bragging.  To make it clearer still, it all boils down to pride.  What is pride?  Pride is "a high or inordinate opinion of one's own dignity, importance, merit or superiority."

I don't think I'd be stretching it to say that pride is at the root of most relationship issues, be they friends, coworkers or spouses.  Pride is that stubborn little (or big) voice inside our heads and hearts that says, "I'm right and you're wrong.  Case closed!"  Pride says, "My way is the right way; therefore, we'll be doing it that way from now on."  Pride declares, "Let me show you what you're doing wrong" when what it really means is, "Let me show you how I would do it."  Pride aggravates, frustrates, and irritates.  One could even argue that it elongates because disagreements would certainly be shortened if one or both parties would let go of their pride and admit wrongdoing. . . or at the very least, agree to disagree (as is necessary in some cases).

Love is not proud or arrogant.  It doesn't demand its own way.  It's not interested in making itself look good or feel good but rather it is focused on lifting up the other.  Love is a willingness to say, "I was wrong" or to take the blame so as to save the other person from harm or embarrassment.  It's not about saying, "I'm always right!"  Instead, it's constant focus is to do what's best for the other person.

I can think of no greater picture of this than Christ's death on the cross.  He took our place.  He bore the blame and our shame for crimes He never committed.  He accepted a gruesome punishment and eventual death because He loved us so much.  He could have gotten down from that cross at any time.  He could have cast off all of our sin and refused to bear the weight of trespasses He never committed.  He had every right to be proud.  After all, God could never think too highly of Himself.  He's God!  Yet Jesus humbled Himself and became obedient unto death (Philippians 2:8).  No proud look.  No arrogant swagger.  Just love, pure and simple.  

And since that bittersweet day, not once has Jesus pointed His finger in my face and declared, "I died for you, so you'd better do what I say."  Even though He is Lord of my life, He doesn't Lord Himself over me and demand that I serve Him.  He asks.  He pleads.  And He has certainly given me every reason to want to.  But even now, He looks out for me and cares for me with a heart full of love and compassion.

I'll be the first to admit this is a hard one to swallow.  It's difficult to bite your tongue when someone is insisting they're right and you know, without a doubt, they are not.  But, if you think about it, most of the things we argue about aren't really of any lasting importance, so what does it matter?  If we really love the person, and the debate is of little importance, it is best to concede with as much grace as possible.  "But then the other person will think they were right and they won the fight."  Yes.  So what?  In the grand scheme of things, what's the big deal?  What's more important--being right or being in a loving relationship?  God knows who's right and who's wrong, but more than that, He knows who is portraying love and who's not.  Love isn't proud or arrogant, but love is always right.