Love is shown through your pursuit of peace.
In 1 Corinthians 13:5, Paul says -
“…does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil…”
As the apostle Paul continues to teach us about love and walking the more excellent way of love, he tells us these two things: love is not provoked and it thinks no evil. This means that no matter what the response of the other person is, no matter how people react or what they say to us, that does not provoke us. It does not irritate us or cause us to become hostile or react negatively towards them. People will be unable to elicit that kind of response from us because we are walking in love.
Love is not provoked. Love enables us to think well about people even when they are not behaving the right way or doing the right things. They might even be doing things that are harmful or against us. Still, love is not provoked and love thinks no evil. It means that when they are doing harmful things, we are not planning or scheming on how to retaliate, how to get back at them or settle the score. That’s not what goes through our minds. Instead, we choose to pursue peace. When they are hostile, when they are working against us, we choose to do what would bring peace and blessing into their lives. When we relate to people that way, we are walking the more excellent way of love.
What about everyday situations in life? It could be at home, it could be things in your workplace, it could be other friendships and relationships, where it is almost certain that people would say or do things that could provoke you, that could cause you to think evil and respond negatively to them. However, when you make them the focus of love, and when you determine in your heart to love them because God loves them, then their response or attitude towards you becomes inconsequential. No matter what they say, no matter what they do, you will not be provoked. Love will think no evil. Love will pursue peace and you will pursue what brings peace and blessing into their lives.
Choose to walk the more excellent way of love. The Bible tells us to bless those who curse us. No matter what people do, I overlook that and I respond in love. No matter what people say, I still love them. That is love. Walk in it.
Father, thank you, for teaching us to walk in love. Help us to pursue peace and blessing no matter what people say or do because love is not provoked. Love thinks no evil.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.