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What Does the Bible Mean by “Love Always Protects?”

There are a lot of things that people would spend time, money, and energy on to make sure something valuable is well protected. Financial institutions have security guards, vaults, and armored vans to keep money safe. The police and army wear protective gear to safeguard life. And everything has various kinds of insurance to secure stability against future unfortunate events. What is most valuable to us, we protect. The whole chapter of 1 Corinthians 13 talks about how important love is above everything else, even above faith and hope. That means that the relationship is most important.

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:7 that “love always protects,” and in the KJV, it is translated as “love beareth all things.” This kind of love is translated from the Greek word agape, which means unconditional love. That just means that despite the difficulties of loving people, love enables us to bear it all unconditionally. We have seen friends sticking with each other despite overwhelming conflicts. We have seen a wife choosing forgiveness and reconciliation after her husband committed adultery. We have seen a missionary adopting the young man who murdered his son during violent persecution. Those are just a few examples of amazing demonstrations of the unconditional love that bears all circumstances. In fact, the word “protect” or “bear” is translated from the Greek word stego, which means “to cover” or “to preserve.” We learn from 1 Peter 4:8:

“And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.”

To love unconditionally means that we are willing to cover many faults for the sake of preserving important relationships. But this does not mean that we also tolerate sin. Godly love does not allow a loved one to be consumed by sin without loving correction.

“[1] Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. [2] Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”

(Galatians 6:1-2 KJV)

When we love someone, we must learn to protect them from all forms of harm, and the greatest harm of them all is the consequences of a sinful life. We must also learn to protect others from the careless manifestation of our sinful nature. Causing others to stumble is also considered a sin, and God holds us accountable for that (Mark 9:42, 1 Corinthians 10:32). As Christians, we represent the love of Christ to others, and we must not allow others to stumble because of us. 

“He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.”

(1 John 2:10 KJV)

We must ask ourselves, What kind of example am I to my children, my spouse, my siblings, my classmates, my friends, my colleagues, or my neighbor? Love does not just look out for one’s own welfare but also that of others. The reason love never fails is that love always protects.

The true author of this protective love is our loving and compassionate God. On the night that Jesus was betrayed and arrested by a crowd of armed men, instead of letting the disciples protect him, He told the men to take Him and let the disciples go. That kind of protective love resounds throughout the Scriptures. Jesus took upon Himself the penalty for our sins for us by dying on the cross. He willingly suffered in our place to protect us from eternal damnation. And His protective love is so strong that it assures that if we truly received Him as Lord and Savior, we will never be separated from Him for all eternity. His love always protects, before creation and until eternity. His love never fails.

“[27] My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: [28] And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. [29] My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”

(John 10:27-29 KJV)

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