Here are some thoughts on love. I asked myself the question: why are each of these characteristics part of love? There are 16 characteristics listed, with eight being what love is, and eight being what love is not. This list is taken from the NKJV (different translations have slightly different lists).

Love suffers long

Love hopes for the best ending. It doesn’t believe things have to stay the way they are, but that they can change for the better. Love has the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:18), and is willing to work for a better ending.

Love is kind

Love wants to be a blessing to others. It looks for ways to convey sympathy and care. Love has the best in mind for another person (Jer 29:11; Eph 4:32). Love likes to give.

Love does not envy

Love does not want to be around other people to use their things or to benefit itself by association. It is content. Love does not worry about protecting its own goods or relationships, because love is content that freedom, combined with love, provides the strongest ties. Love is content.

Love does not parade itself

Love does feel the need to self-promote. It is comfortable living in whatever state it is in (Phil 4:11). It trusts God to guide its life. It doesn’t advance itself at the expense of others.

Love is not puffed up

Love doesn’t feel the need to prove that it is better than anyone else (Rom 12:3). It is careful not to one-up others in conversation. On the contrary, love esteems others better than itself (Phil 2:3). Love is not self-centered, it is others-centered.

Love does not behave rudely

Love cares about how others feel. It doesn’t want to put off others. It doesn’t want to do anything that would create a barrier to a relationship through a deliberate or unintentional act. Love doesn’t want to be self-centered.

Love does not seek its own

Love is unselfish. It realizes that the greatest fulfillment and satisfaction in life comes from living for others. Love seeks to pursue the happiness of others above its own. It has the power to break selfish tailspins in relationships, because it operates by a higher set of rules.

Love is not provoked

Love does not need to react to protect itself or its reputation. It doesn’t act rashly. Love is deliberate. It acts intentionally. It is not just an emotion.

Love thinks no evil

Love’s mental processes are entirely filled with good things. There isn’t any room in there for sin to exist. There is a consistent and coordinated filling of the life with the things of God so that there isn’t any room left over.

Love does not rejoice in iniquity

Love cannot celebrate what is wrong, because sin always hurts someone. Sin doesn’t even like watching other people do what’s wrong even if it doesn’t do it itself, or even pretend doing it.

Love rejoices in the truth

Love holds tight to truth because it has the power to change lives. Truth builds trust, which enables deeper relationships. Truth is reliable Love enjoys things that are true, and thinks things that are true. Truth is mighty. It is one of the few elite concepts in the world worth dying for: love, honor, justice, and truth. Truth can change the world.

Love bears all things

Love is able to endure the faults of others, because it knows that they will pass. Love covers a multitude of sins (Prov 10:12). Love is willing to forgive and move forward. Forbearance strengthens relationships, or releases one from the mental bondage of a bad one.

Love believes all things

Love is an optimist and believes the best in people. Love doesn’t base its opinions on rumors of another person. It believes people act from good motives until proven otherwise, and understands that some people have bad days, but that those pass.

Love hopes all things

Love never gives up on anyone. Love always believes that there is a possibility for someone to turn their life around. Love has faith that when a committed relationship has a rough spot that it will come out ok on the other side.

Love endures all things

Love itself is more durable than the obstacles of life. Though troubles and difficulties come, love does not have to die. Love might remove itself a situation, but it does not come to an end. Love can look the hardest, most difficult challenge in the eye and still exist. Love is the most courageous thing in the world. In the end, love wins over all sins and troubles. In this way love conquers all.

Love never fails

Love is trustable and dependable. It never runs out. It is permanent. It is absolute. It is abundant. Love is… superlative.