I have seen what people have called love really be some twisted version of control and manipulation. It is not healthy, but for some, it is the best that they have known. Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is telling us that kind of love is not love at all. God's love never...
"seeks its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;" 1 Corinthians 13:5
The word translated "seeks its own" refers to a person who is so bent on getting what they want. They will look for any loophole, twist any facts, put words into someone else mouth, try to force others to keep promises they have never made, corrupt numbers or administration to make this look positive in their direction regardless of the truth. In other words, Paul is saying God's love is never ever manipulative.
Scheming, manipulating, using half truths to get what you want is never real love. Anything done dishonestly, untruthfully, with a secret agenda is not the way God loves us. His love is pure and honest. This kind of love always speaks the truth in gentle ways. It does not need to scheme or manipulate it always shares what is the real agenda with nothing hidden and with grace.
Love is not provoked! How often does that happen between people? Often in marriage counseling, I have to remind people to stay focused on resolving the problem rather than tearing each other down. The idea here is someone who comes alongside another and begins to poke them, as in stabbing them with a sharp stick. It is a continuously picking at and on someone, always pushing just to goad them into a fight. The word also means "sour, bitter, acidy." God's love for us and our love for others should be sweet and refreshing.
Can you see why God's type of love is absolutely necessary for our ability to flow in the power of the Spirit and the gifts that God pours into us? If we become manipulative or bitter, then we are not an accurate reflection of who God is and how He loves us.
I know I am challenging many with what real love is all about. I want to remind you that none of us can love this way apart from our knowing that God really does love each of us this way. We can only love by the way we understand love!