All About Righteous Love

          Have the relationships of Ruth and Naomi, or David and Jonathan ever come to mind when you read of 1 Corinthians 13?. Often, this chapter of the Bible gets associated with romantic love and marriage. The world teaches us that romance based on passion and attraction is the pinnacle of love. However, Jesus said in John 15:13-14, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.” Jesus taught the commandments of God with His divine authority. Both the aforementioned relationships were not of the romantic kind, but they reached the true pinnacle of love.

            Ruth became Naomi’s daughter-in-law while her and her family where living in the land of Moab to escape drought. After losing her husband and sons in Moab, Namoi became depressed and sought to be as physically alone as she had felt in her heart. She told her daughters in law, “Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands? Return home, my daughters…the Lord’s hand has turned against me!” (Ruth 1:11-13) After hearing this, her other daughter-in-law, Orpah, kissed Naomi goodbye and returned home. However, Ruth clung to Naomi and replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” (Ruth 1:16-17) Ruth lived out what she had said to Naomi. She continued to lay down her life by working to supply Naomi with food, companionship, and care. Due to Ruth’s righteous love toward her mother-in-law, a man named Boaz took notice of her and eventually became the family’s redeemer.  

            Just as Ruth was righteously committed to Naomi, Jonathan loved David with a Godly love. After his battle with Goliath the Bible records, “As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.” (1 Samuel 18:1) Jonathan then stripped off all his armor and weapons, giving them all to David and proceeded to make a covenant with him. Sometime after, Jonathan’s father Saul, begins to grow jealous of David and tries to kill him. David flees from Saul, and begins to discuss this with Jonathan. They hatch out a plan where Jonathan will confront his father about David after he has hidden himself for three days. Afterward Jonathan will shoot three arrows toward David’s hiding point and send a boy out to fetch them. Depending on what Jonathan says to the boy regarding the arrows, David will know whether or not he should flee from Saul. David ended up running for his life from Saul because Jonathan saved him. Jonathan also risked his life for his friend. When he confronted his father about David, King Saul hurled a spear at him in anger at his loyalty to his friend. Jonathan’s love for David was not rooted on his princely status or anything physical. Jonathan embodied righteous love, because he loved David for his soul and he loved it as much as his own.

            1 Corinthians 13:1-3 says, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” Love is not an emotion or a saying, because it is an action. Jesus ultimately gave His life on the cross for the redemption of mankind.  While He was living, He gave up His life to serving God. 1 John 4:7 says, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” Jesus, Ruth, and Jonathan all knew God because they loved righteously. As Jonathan and Ruth show, regardless of background, every individual has to choose the love they want to express. Jonathan, Ruth, and Jesus chose to obey God and live by the love He teaches. Will you decide to do the same?