Love believes all things. When I read that phrase in English, I am reminded of a gullible person. As a friend once told me, “Stand up for what you believe in, or you’ll fall for anything.” Are we really supposed to believe everything that people tell us? At first glance, this is exactly what it is saying. The Greek word for “believes” is “pisteuó” which means “to be persuaded.”
However, this aspect of love challenges us to be persuaded by the Lord. God has proven His faithfulness and trustworthiness in the Bible, and in our daily lives. Although God is trustworthy, we cannot always trust those around us. We are called throughout Scripture not to be tossed around like the wind, but to test everything and to be sober-minded. We can trust the Lord and allow His hand to guide our everyday lives, because He loves us.
Throughout my youth, I had several experiences that made me want to put up a guard against dating, relationships, or marriage. A few years before meeting my husband, I was in a relationship that honestly was going nowhere, but I was too stubborn to end it, until I was emotionally and mentally spent. After that, I went on several “dates” with guys, except they didn’t call them “dates.” They would invite me to “hang out” and “get coffee,” like that’s the only way you can “hang out” with a member of the opposite gender. As an emotionally exhausted, mentally confused young woman who had been gullible for far too long with guys, I put up walls and decided not to “hang out” with guys alone.
When I met my husband, that wall was about three feet thick. There was no way that guy would come near me! My poor friend (who was a friend at the time) bent over backwards to try to convince me that he was worth trusting, but I wouldn’t bite. At least, not until one of my best friends confronted me and told me to let him in a little.
In a world where experiences like mine (and worse) are not uncommon, it has become increasingly difficult to trust. That’s why this aspect of love, that love believes all things, does not sit well with me. It’s not that I don’t believe the word of God, but there are parts of Scripture that rub us the wrong way so that we know where we need work.
We have reached the point in this passage where we have learned that God is the only one who can offer us perfect love. First John 4:18 says that perfect love casts out all fear. Due to my anxiety, I used to think that this verse was condemning me for having fear. However, I’ve learned that God, the only one who can provide perfect love to us, brings us to a place where fear no longer has control over us. It may take time, it may take sacrifice, but we have to trust Him.
Over time, as I prayed and trusted God on a daily basis in my relationship with my husband, I became less afraid and more trusting. The more days my husband didn’t hurt me, the more I was able to open up to him and share bits and pieces of my heart. There were times, of course, when he would hurt me unintentionally and my fearful defenses would fly up again, but we dealt with them. Now that we are married, the fear of being hurt doesn’t go away, but as we work through it together, the walls crumble down brick by brick.
Let love persuade you. God offers you the type of perfect love that allows you to never fear again. As you encounter the living, loving God on a daily basis, He will begin to tear down your walls and help you to trust again.