Love Is Impeccable (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
How Is Love Impeccable?
Impeccable means flawlessness. Love is impeccable, love is flawless. Why is love flawless? Because “love” is God and God is flawless… without sin or evil. His love is “untainted.” It’s not driven by selfish ambition or gain; it’s pure and undefiled.
What Does Impeccable Love Look Like?
Think of the story of Joseph in the Old Testament. Joseph was deeply loved by His father. He was actually loved more than the other 11 sons. (Genesis 37:3). Because of this, Israel, Joseph’s father, chose to spoil him with many gifts, including the famous “robe of many colors”. Joseph’s brother did not like this at all. Genesis 37:4 states: “But when they saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peacefully to him.” Now, put yourself in their shoes: your father, or mother, choses to spoil your brother or sister and give them all the love in the world, more than they have ever even attempted to show or give you. Wouldn’t you feel the same way? Wouldn’t you just be the teensiest bit envious? Joseph’s brothers were so jealous of Joseph that they actually hated him. They couldn’t even speak to him peacefully. Have you ever gotten to that point? Where you are just so jealous of someone else that you can’t even speak nicely to them?
If we continue to read on we see that Joseph has 2 dreams. Genesis 37:5-8: “Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it. His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said. Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, “What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?” His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.”
After Joseph shared these two dreams with his brothers, they were even more envious of him. They hated him even more. The amount of hate for Joseph just kept growing and growing. Eventually, it got to be too much for them to handle. We all know what happens next. Joseph is sold into slavery (Genesis 37:12-36).
The brothers let themselves get so caught up in the things of the world, as well as the varying amounts of love the father had for each of them, that they could not love him. They were so extremely jealous of Joseph, and that is one thing love is not… Love is NOT jealous. We cannot love like Christ when we allow jealousy, pride, and irritability reign in our lives. Joseph was sold into slavery because his brothers were jealous of him. We are sold into slavery when we let jealousy reign in our lives. Again, jealousy is not love, and without love, we are useless.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says “love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing”.
Joseph’s brothers were not acting in love. They were being envious, arrogant, rude, and resentful.
We all know how the story ends, Joseph goes to Egypt and works for Potiphar and then gets thrown into prison. He interprets two dreams of two other inmates, and then the dream of Pharaoh himself! Pharaoh then chooses to let Joseph out of prison. When he does this, Joseph begins to rise in power, influence, and responsibility. He is given many responsibilities and was put over all of Egypt. He was now second in command after Pharaoh! However, famine soon struck the land of Egypt. But Joseph, having known the dream given earlier to Pharaoh, had prepared for this time of famine. During this time, Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt because they were in need of food. Joseph, he is overwhelmed by the sight of his brothers. His brothers, however, didn’t even recognize who he was! Eventually, Joseph reveals himself to them after testing them to see wear their hearts were in all of this. . After their father dies, his brothers were scared of Joseph because of what they had done to him.
Genesis 50:15-17 says: “When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” 16 So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died: 17 ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept.”
They wanted to make sure that Joseph was going to forgive them for all that they had done to him. They were afraid, but look closely at Joseph’s response to them:
Genesis 50:19-21: “But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.”
Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery because they hated him. That, obviously, is not love at any cost. They didn’t even show a hint of love for their brother; instead, they got rid of him… or so they thought. Because of this, they feared what Joseph would do to them now that he had a lot more power over them. But Joseph chooses not to. He tells them that even though they intended to harm him, God used it for good. He doesn’t become angry with them, even though they hurt him so tragically by taking him away from his father and home. Instead, he responds with love and compassion by choosing to provide for them and their children. He “spoke kindly to them”; something his brothers NEVER did to him.
Joseph, at this season of his life, was the epitome of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
You see friends, Joseph notices that even though his brothers had wronged him greatly, he doesn’t have to respond to them in anger and rage, he doesn’t have to reject them just like they did to him, he doesn’t even keep a record of their wrongdoing to him, rather he chooses to provide for them and their children. He chooses to respond with love.
How Can We Apply Impeccable Love To Our Lives?
This is exactly what Paul is trying to get through to us. Love is impeccable because it completely eliminates any record of wronging. Just like Christ with us. Love keeps no record of wrongs… In forgiveness, Jesus keeps no record of wrong. Often times, when we are wronged in some way, we just want to stay mad. We want revenge ! We stay bitter. We want the people who wronged us to be held accountable for what they did. We want them to be punished! We want to hold it against them forever. Like a married couple, a husband and wife, one feels deeply wronged by something and they haven’t truly forgiven so it’s still hidden in their heart. When arguments come up, guess what else will come up with that most recent argument ? The other wrong that was done that we’ve tucked down deep in our hearts . It’s on record. “Well you did this then and you shouldn’t have.” That’s not real love my friends! Paul is telling us to let those wrongs go because love keeps no record of wrongs. When we accept the love Christ gives us, when we accept Jesus as Lord of our lives, our slates are wiped clean. Jesus doesn’t keep a record of our sins that may prevent us from getting to Heaven…He forgives sin and clears our record! We can have confidence!