Perhaps three of the most important letters in the English alphabet are W, H, and Y. “Why” is a child’s favorite question to ask. “Why” provides motivation for endurance in trials. Nietzsche said, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” “Why” exposes our motivations—the reasons behind our words and our actions. “Why” can reveal where our hearts really are.
Jerry Bridges tried to supply a “why” for each line of love’s definition in 1 Corinthians 13. He wanted us to search our hearts and see what the “why” revealed. It is possible for us to act in a loving way but not be loving. We all have times that we act what we do not feel, but ideally our hearts and actions come to agree more often than not.
“Because” is the word that answers “why.” Look for the motivations in love—and compare them with your “why’s.”
- I am patient with you because I love you and want to forgive you.
- I am kind to you because I love you and want to help you.
- I do not envy your possessions or your gifts because I love you and want you to have the best.
- I do not boast about my attainments because I love you and want to hear about yours.
- I am not proud because I love you and want to esteem you before myself.
- I am not rude because I love you and care about your feelings.
- I am not self-seeking because I love you and want to meet your needs.
- I am not easily angered by you because I love you and want to overlook your offenses.
- I do not keep a record of your wrongs because I love you, and “love covers a multitude of sins.”
Unfortunately, our “why’s” often get out of whack. We are patient because we don’t want to make a scene. We are kind because we don’t want a bad reputation. We don’t boast because there are consequences.
Let’s look at our hearts – and be people who are motivated by real love.