How to Love

Who needs your love? Like many people, my wedding included a reading from Chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians (AKA, the “Love Chapter”).

Love is patient. Love is kind. Love in the family and at work.

Love gives team members credit where credit is due. Love, in fact, gives more credit to others than they are due. (Click to Tweet)

I’m pretty sure that every Christian wedding since approximately 125 A.D. has required at least portions of this chapter to be read. If it were not read, I am pretty sure the part of the wedding in which the pastor asks, “does anyone have any objections,” would have been followed by someone interjecting that the obligatory reading of 1 Corinthians 13 was missing.

I always took that chapter as “the marriage chapter.” It was great advice for husbands and wives, but it stopped there. I never applied these principles to other forms of leadership or relationships.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

Love in the Family

Love is being patient with your children. After all, they are younger than you. And odds are they have a long way to go before they make as many mistakes and bad decisions as you did.

Love is being kind to your in-laws when they belittle your dreams.

Love at Work

Love does not envy the colleague who gets a promotion you think you deserve. It celebrates with him or her.

Love does not boast when you do get that promotion.

Love gives credit where credit is due. Love, in fact, gives more credit to others than they are due.

Love is calm with the boss who never listens to your ideas or, worse, takes credit for them. Love does not keep a tally of all the times he or she has done this.

Love never asks a team member to be anything less than honest. Love does not put team members or colleagues in compromising situations.

Love Everywhere

Love always looks out for others who are down and lifts them up.

Love always believes in and for the best in others.

Love always helps others be their best.

Love is always on the path to success. Love always wins.

Without Love

The apostle Paul warns us about a life without love.

If you truly show love to your wife or husband, but do not love your children the way that Paul writes about, it is all for nothing.

If you pay your team well, provide the best health insurance and 401(k) for your team, but do not truly love them properly, you are nothing.

If you are not patient with others, do not celebrate their successes, believe for the best in them, help them out of their pits, forgive them quickly for their faults and hold no record of their wrongs…if you do not do these things, you have nothing.

Every moment is an opportunity to express love.

How will you express love to someone today?

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  • Powerful stuff Matt! This pierced right through my frustrations & anger this morning. I really appreciate that. Now…I’m off to go give my wife a hug.

    Have a great day!!!

  • Wow, this is great. We know we are supposed to love people but never think about using the love chapter as a blueprint for love outside of our family circle. Awesome action plan.

  • Love thy enemy’s. I will send good thoughts to those who have wronged me. Agggh thanks MATT!

    • haha, when I first read your comment I read it fast and read the first part as “Love’s the enemy” I was like, “ummm, Jim, I think you missed matt’s point…” :)

      • ha, sometimes it feels that way. Check out my reply to your pink beret comment yesterday.

        • haha, I saw it right before I read this! Too awesome!

          • Like I had nothing else to do today…ha

          • well now you can feel like you were useful, haha.

          • Love it! Well done @jryan2445:disqus

          • Sorry Matt. I wont be offended if you delete it…Funny, but kinda unprofessional of me.

    • Oh yeah…enemies too :)

  • I’m glad to be part of a team that is building a culture of love. We have a very long way to go, but we have mourned with those who have lost a loved one, welcomed babies into the world and celebrated successes and birthdays. We have much work yet do to, but I think the ground is fertile for this type of culture. At home, we may not have the most perfect routine or the cleanest house, but our children hear every day, multiple times, how much we love them. We need to keep working on following that with being some consistent with some actions, especially when a full glass of milk gets spilled on the hardwood floor, on purpose, just because it’s fun.

    • Steve Pate

      I “love” the idea of your work culture. It sounds like you and your team is a building a great foundation!

  • I love you man… (does that count?)

    I have to say, my favorite part of the whole post was “Love is being patient with your children. After all, they are younger than you. And odds are they have a long way to go before they make as many mistakes and bad decisions as you did.”
    haha, that’s one way to look at it!
    I’m going to serve more and spend more time to show love today. My wife’s love language is totally acts of service, and my daughter’s is quality time. And my son’s is…well, he’s four months old, so as long as I feed him and smile and make goofy faces at him, he’s good!
    Thanks for sharing my friend!

  • Steve Pate

    I would like to add, I love where I work and I love where I live, it so happens I work where I live and live where I work. And lately, showing love to a team member/neighbor and trying to work out what it takes to live in community. Not as easy as it looks.But when you use Love to figure it out, it will always win. Thanks for a great post Matt.

  • Very thought provoking post, Matt, thanks for that.
    Does it seem true that discussions of love often migrate into sentimentality? Or perhaps it’s that the focus becomes predominantly kindness, or hope, or encouragement.
    Isn’t it love to fire someone? Isn’t it love to argue for your team? There is a take-responsibility and fight form of love that leaders very very often ignore, purposely in many cases.
    Your post reinforced some ideas in my mind, Matt, and this was one of them.

    • All great points. Yes, it is love to fire someone, just as it is love to put your daughter in timeout or take away her cell phone or….

  • Matt, could you explain a bit further about giving more credit than due? That feels sort of dishonest to me, or kiss-up, or like flattery. . . guess I need more understanding of what you mean here. Thanks!

    • Part of is a guard against under-crediting, which is what most leaders do.

      Without kiss-up or over-flattering, it’s giving someone else 100% of the credit for an idea when, in fact, you were responsible for 20%. Why? Because what is the point in taking the 20%? Self-glorification?

      Say, “Joe had a great idea this morning and I want him to share it with you all.”

      As compared to the technically accurate, “Joe and I came up with an idea together this morning…”

  • Great application of this passage. We tend to be too selfish and not show the love we ought to.

  • Two books that give great practical advice, wisdom, and motivation to this topic are: Love Does by Bob Goff and Love Works by Joel Manby.