1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity suffers long, and is kind; charity envies not; charity braggs not itself, is not puffed up,…
Of unseemliness there are many varieties, alike the fruit of selfishness, and equally alien to charity, which is the most effectual conservator of good manners. There is —
I. A FORWARD AND OFFICIOUS BEHAVIOUR. But charity is never meddlesome. It is pride and vanity that makes men "busybodies in other men's matters."
II. AN UNCIVIL AND DISRESPECTFUL BEHAVIOUR. Who has not met with those who affect what they call honest bluntness, who feel above all conventional forms, and care not how many they disgust by their brusquery? Charity, however, considers the tastes and customs of society, and restrains from all that is offensive to the best culture? Christian love produces the most genuine politeness, and the best Christian is the most perfect gentleman or lady.
III. AN INVIDIOUS EMULATION AND AMBITION. But charity, content with her own position, caring little for the honours of the world, practically heeds the words of her Divine Master — "Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister," etc.
IV. A NOISY AND BLUSTERING OSTENTATION. Nothing is farther from charity than display. If gifted, she exhibits no anxiety to impress the world with the superiority of her endowment. If she achieves anything for the improvement of humanity, she is influenced by no desire to be applauded of men. If she has cast her spiritual sounding-line into the deep things of God, she still owns with him who was not a whit behind the very chiefest of the apostles, "I am less than the least of all saints."
V. AN ARROGANT AND SUPERCILIOUS DEPORTMENT. But charity, minding not high things, condescends to men of low estate. The disciple of the lowly Man of Nazareth, without desiring to destroy the just distinctions of social life, conceals his rank so far as duty will permit, and unites his advantages with such affability and gentleness as shall render them attractive to all.
VI. AN OBSTINATE AND IMPERIOUS WILL. Some people are always setting up their own judgment as the standard, and their own decision as the law. On the contrary, he who is under the influence of charity yields gracefully to the opinions and preferences of his brethren, except where such compliance involves some dereliction of truth and duty.
VII. AN UNSEEMLY SELF-CONFIDENCE AND SELF-RELIANCE. Charity looks to a higher wisdom for guidance and a higher power for strength; and feels itself, in the presence of God, as less than nothing and vanity.
VIII. AN UNSEEMLY HASTE AND IMPETUOSITY OF SPIRIT, which it is the tendency of charity to moderate, and one of its chief offices to control. How often, from this very infirmity, did St. Peter subject himself to mortifying rebuke and bitter sorrow!
IX. AN UNSEEMLY INCONSISTENCY AND INCONGRUITY OF DEPORTMENT, a want of harmony between the manners and the profession of the Christian. Charity in the heart is the temper of Christ. Charity in the action is the imitation of Christ. Charity in the character is Christ's unmistakable image. Now what ought that man to be who professes to furnish to the world a miniature likeness of the Incarnate Perfection? Verily, he should be harmless and blameless, holy in all manner of conversation.
(J. Cross, D.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,