Love is not Rude

Devotionals from Leslie Ludy and the Set Apart Girl Team

Love is not Rude

by Leslie Ludy | November 29, 2013

1 Corinthians 13:5 says, “Love is not rude.”  At first glance, this principle seems almost too basic and simple – and yet, it is profoundly brilliant and life-changing.  Just think about how our churches, marriages, families, and relationships could change for the better if we as Christian women actually applied this principle in every conversation, every email, every phone call, and every encounter of our daily lives?

There is probably nothing more challenging to us as women than to submit our emotions to the Spirit of God – especially when someone close to us mistreats or offends us.  Proverbs 15:1 says, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”  When someone in our life does something insensitive, the way we respond is critical. Our selfish, fleshly side urges us to respond harshly, insisting that it is our right to be rude to those who are rude to us. But Christ’s pattern is completely different. He says,  “You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you” (Matt. 5:44).

To bite our tongue when a harsh reply wants to burst out, take a deep breath, and pray for the other person instead. To exude the nature of Christ in the face of rudeness, insensitivity, or cruelty is a supernatural ability that His Spirit gives, not something that we can muster up in our own strength.

One of the things that helps me most when it comes to giving a gentle answer to those who may not “deserve it” is to remember stories of persecuted Christians throughout the ages. Betsy ten Boom was able to see her vicious, murderous prison guards with eyes of compassion instead of hate. Sabina Wurmbrand was able to sincerely love the pastor whose betrayal of her husband caused him years of torture and imprisonment. Elisabeth Elliot was able to forgive and serve her husband’s killers. Vibia Perpetua was able to intercede for the salvation of those who tortured her, humiliated her, and took her life.

If these women could receive grace and strength to love even the cruelest of men, can we not trust God for the power to overlook the much smaller offences we encounter everyday? 

A woman who has been transformed by the selfless love of Christ is not easily angered. She does not fly off the handle. She is not a slave to tumultuous emotions. She is not concerned with protecting her right to be treated a certain way. She is far more interested in the eternal souls of those around her than in her own feelings.

As women, we’ve often been trained to believe that we are slaves to our emotions; that we can’t help it when our feelings overcome us, controlling what we say and how we act. But contrary to popular belief, outbursts of anger, tears of self-pity, overwhelming feelings of hurt, even hormonal ups and downs, can all be conquered by God’s Spirit overtaking our inner being. His love and life are far more powerful than our most intense emotions. And we are not to be controlled by anything but His Spirit.

If you feel controlled by volatile emotions, pray specifically for God to over take your emotions and bring them under His jurisdiction. Next time you are in a situation where you feel tempted to fly off the handle, make a decision to slow down, walk in the other room if needed, take a deep breath, and pray for His love, His attitude, and His response to flow through your being.  Remember, love is not rude.  If you choose to accept the grace He offers, you will have all that you need to live by this brilliant principle of Scripture.

When we silence the voice of our screaming emotions and tune in to the still small voice of His Spirit, gentle answers and attitudes will begin to replace angry ones. A woman who is free from the tyranny of her own emotions is free to reflect the beauty of heaven.