Paul is explaining the nature of perfect love. That is the kind of love that God shows. It is the kind of love that God wants his people to show in this world.
Such love is much better than the love that people usually show towards each other. I mean that perfect love has higher standards. For example, people often speak lies because of strong feelings towards someone else. They might speak lies because they want someone to be their friend, or in order to have sex with that person. We do not even want to use the word Ďloveí when we speak about such a relationship. So we already realise that genuine love must be much better than that. We recognise the connection between love and truth.
Everyone likes the truth when they benefit by it. But it is much harder to approve of the truth if you do not gain any advantage from it. Not many people are sincere, honest and truthful when life is hard. But that is how God wants his people to behave (Matthew 5:16). They are kind when people speak cruel words against them. They are gentle to people who insult them (4:12-13). Instead of hate, they show love.
You may say that it is impossible for anyone to live by such standards in this world. That is true, but God does not expect Christians to do these things by their own skill. It is not their own love that they must show, but Godís love. Their own love may be weak, but Godís love remains strong in every situation. He gives them the courage and strength to stand against evil things and for the truth. He gives them the power to do that with an attitude that shows real love towards other people. That kind of love does not oppose the truth; it supports the truth.
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© 2014, Keith Simons.