I grew up in a rude and crude family. My alcoholic step-father took vulgarity to unbelievable levels, exposing my brothers and me to things we never should have seen. I remember him getting drunk one night after work and deciding to go for a swim. He stripped naked at the kitchen counter and headed for the pool, an image a 10-year-old will always remember. On another night my mother rejected his drunken advances so he summoned us into their bedroom. He lay naked in the bed next to my mother, her lip swollen and bleeding, as he declared to us all that he was going to divorce our mother for not performing on demand. As bad as his behavior was his speech was even more disgusting, peppered with profanity and seasoned with vulgar comments too vile to put into print. He was not a loving man.
When I met my wife I quickly learned what the love of a father looked like. The contrast between the vulgarity of my step-father and the love of my father-in-law was remarkable. In the 25 years I was blessed to have Chuck Rehm as a part of my life I never heard him swear and never heard him make an unseemly comment. He adored my mother-in-law and not once did I hear him make a contrary comment about her. His commitment to my wife and her sisters was unshakeable.
I think about these two men when I read the next description of love in 1 Corinthians 13. “Love is not rude.” Other versions read “Love is not unseemly” or “Love does dishonor others.” It is clear from this definition that my father-in-law loved his family and my step-father did not.
Sadly, many of us are very much like my step-father. Over the years I have observed hundreds of relationships and have seen many men and women who were rude, crude and inappropriate in their behavior. I have seen friends interrupt one another, mock others behind their backs, and crudely insult others. I have heard supposedly respectable men make vulgar jokes, and seen strangers proudly wear t-shirts with words and images that would make a sailor blush.
We should do better. It seems pretty clear from scripture that if we truly love one another such behavior should disappear.
This post is part 5 in a series on Love based on 1 Corinthians 13. You can share this post with others by clicking on the link below. You can have the remaining posts in the series, and all future posts delivered straight to your email inbox by clicking on the subscribe button. As always comments are welcomed!