I’ll never forget my first night as a mother. I sat in my hospital bed as my husband slept on the sterile plastic couch beneath the window of our fifth floor recovery room holding my daughter in my arms. I couldn’t bear the thought of parting with her to send her to the nursery for the night so I could sleep, much to my nurse’s dismay out of her concern for me. I insisted I’d be fine after not sleeping at all for the last 27 hours my labor lasted. I tried to lay her down in the bassinet, but she cried when I set her down, and I was so worried I wouldn’t hear her wake up if I fell asleep. So I sat up in bed and held her the entire night, sacrificing some much needed sleep so she could sleep through the night. It was my first night as a mother, and my first small taste of truly sacrificial love.
When the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 13:4 that love does not envy, it’s taken directly from the tenth commandment (Exodus 20:17) - “You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” If envy fills up your heart, there is no room to love them, and there is no room for thankfulness for what the Lord has given you and who He has created you to uniquely be.
The Bible tells us that love does not boast and this is perhaps the most sacred of all the characteristics of a godly love - humility. It’s the characteristic of God’s love that allowed Him to give His Son for us. It’s the characteristic of God’s love that Jesus showed when he left His throne and all of His glory to become a servant. It’s the characteristic of God’s love He taught the disciples when He washed their feet, when He preached that the last would be first (Matthew 20:16), and when He hung on the cross, sacrificing Himself for us.
Envy and boasting go hand-in-hand as self-serving behaviors. Wanting what others have for yourself, and putting yourself above others in importance and deed is inherently selfish and true, godly love cannot exist where selfishness, envy and boast are prevalent. True love delights in the accomplishments of others, rejoices and thanks God with them for the blessings He has given them, and places others first in all circumstances. Placing others first, making sacrifices, is not a comfortable feeling. Godly love will stretch and mold your heart, but what a privilege to be molded by the Master Potter, and what a joy to both experience this kind of unconditional love from the Father and be able to show others the same kind of love.