February 11 – Love Bears All Things

I Corinthians 13:7a, “[Love] Beareth all things.”
“Bear” is one of those fun words that is actually a homonym, which means it has many meanings for the same word.  The noun BEAR is obviously that animal that Miriam now knows goes “grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr” and comes in brown, black, and polar varieties – as well as panda and koala! 
TO BEAR is a verb, which is how we are using the word today.  It has various definitions which make this an interesting study to figure out which form of the word the verse refers to.
1.  “to move while holding up and supporting; to sustain”
2.  “to give as a testimony” (do not bear false witness)
3.  “to have a feature or likeness” (bears the image of her father)
4.  “to hold in mind or emotions” (to bear the pain of a situation)
5.  “to bring forth; to give birth” (to bear a son)
In my mind, in the verse above, to BEAR ALL THINGS is to support your loved one through any situation.  If he’s having a bad day at work, you should help him bear it … allow him to have a safe place to vent frustration.  On the other hand, if he’s faced an injustice or difficult situation, you need to BEAR HIM UP – support and sustain him.  Love is there – always – bearing each other’s burdens and putting up with each other’s flaws. 
Matthew Henry reminded me that in this case “to bear” does not mean to publish all the flaws and faults of those we love (in other words, we should NOT seek to lay open or lay “bear” all the sins and things that might humiliate our loved one).  “Though such a man be free to tell his brother his faults in private, he is very unwilling to expose him by making them public.  Thus we do by our own faults, and thus charity would teach us to do by the faults of others … [Love] will be patient upon provocation, and long patient.”
Matthew Henry goes on to state emphatically:  “What firmness fervent love will give the mind!  What cannot a lover endure for the beloved and for his sake!”  If we truly love someone, we need to bear with them.
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