Love is not Selfish

1 Corinthians 13:4-7:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. (5) It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. (6) Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. (7) It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

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Erfon, my old intern and now co-worker at JellyBarn, and I were at lunch the few weeks ago discussing a few aspects of life and work. He brought up the above verse and we both had an epiphany.

Not saying something to someone because you want them to like you is selfish, not love.

Notice the motivation there. I’m not advocating speaking the truth at all costs; but speaking the truth in love at the right time. The motivation to hold back that truth cannot be because you want someone (your boss, your wife, your friends or acquaintances) to like you. That is selfishness.

I’m not sure why I hadn’t thought of that before, but this principle has played an important role in my life even without me knowing it. I’ve almost lost friends over it. I’m not for losing friends, but if it means they hear the truth at the right time in love and grace, then I would be an idiot not to say it. I would be selfish, and would be taking an opportunity for them to grow away from them.

Nate Ritter lives in the Pacific Northwest (U.S.), popularized the #hashtag and creates web applications for a living. He also does miles and point hacking to enable cheap travel for his family. More here →

4 Comments on "Love is not Selfish"

  1. Amber says:

    As someone who has recently had a very harsh truth revealed to me through an act of love and honesty, this entry means a lot to me.

    It was a shock to hear this truth, and difficult to accept it. Being only fifteen, I’ve never really been faced with anything quite as difficult. But knowing that he was telling me this out of honesty and that he was truly sorry for it was what mattered most to me in the end.

    Thank you, for giving me something to truly think about, that helps me understand the situation that I’m in and accept it more easily.

  2. nate says:

    Amber, I’m very happy to give people (you) something to think about. I wrote this post quite a while ago, but your comment brought it back to my attention. I still believe this is the case, even 2 years later. And I think it’s fabulous that you’re beginning to think about it too. You’re about 10 years ahead of your time.

    Thanks for commenting, Amber. Nice to meet you.

  3. Wendy says:

    Love is not selfish. I keep thinking of this bible verse. It is so applicapble to my curent situation. I just had to type it into my search engine. I wish I had thought of this verse before I made a decision that cost me my oldest friendship. I took a chance at what I “thought” was love and in the process lost out on true love. One should never betray a friend for a potential “love”. Frankly, if that “love” were actually true, he/she would not ask you to do something that would harm you and steal your friendship from another…because love IS NOT selfish….love IS NOT self-seeking…and sometimes in the pursuit of true love, we forget just what that word, that emotion truely is; which is the MOST selfish and self-seeking act of all.

  4. DUREEN says:

    I solely agree wid this phrase. I’m on a stage where i love someone whose a very dear friend. . somewhere deep inside he olso knows it. I’ve quite often acted as a psycho acting in a way i’ve neva eva dreamed i would eva. . but with the passage ov time and coming to know what exactly true love means. . now i can say. . “Love is not selfish”. Its not necessary that the one you love should love you back or you would get what you wish. It is a selfless commitment ov someone to someone. . where ol u’r bothered about is his/her spiritual growth. .dislocating ol ur ego boundaries and just letting the emotion do the working for you :-)

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