Question: "What does it mean that love always trusts (1 Corinthians 13:7)?"
Answer: In 1 Corinthians 13:7, we see that love is more than an abstraction or ideal; it is action. Four specific actions are “always” performed by true love, and the second is that love “always trusts” (NIV) or “believes all things” (ESV).
First, we should understand what this description of love does not mean. The fact that love believes all things does not make a loving person a dupe. Neither does it mean that love is naïve, undiscerning, or credulous. We’re not talking about gullibility here, and a foolish lack of skepticism is not a part of love.
The Greek word translated as “believes” is a form of the verb pisteuo, which means “to believe, place faith in, or trust.” The word is a common one, used 248 times in the New Testament. Many times, this word is found in contexts in which belief is an expression of love.
Those who love will always “believe” in the other person. There is no second-guessing or questioning of whether the person should be loved. Love is simply given. It is unconditional. The loved one does not need to perform anything or achieve a certain goal in order to be loved. Just as Christ loves His children unconditionally, He calls us to love others. Love is based on who He is, not on what others do.
Some scholars suggest this teaching of “love always trusts” is directly connected to Paul’s rebuke of lawsuits earlier in his letter. In chapter 6 we read of believers bringing lawsuits against one another in the local courts. Love that “always trusts” would not do such a thing.
A person with God’s type of love will “always trust.” That is, he will not be suspicious of the one he loves. He will be slow to believe any damaging news concerning the loved one and will always give the benefit of the doubt. Whatever the situation, love is ready to trust. To trust someone means that you are “ever ready to believe the best” (AMP) of him or her. The loved one may have a checkered past or be in some other way undeserving of trust, yet true love is able to look past that and meet the need of the individual. Mistrust, cageyness, and suspicion are at odds with godly love.
If brothers and sisters in Christ would believe in one another, setting suspicion aside and extending unconditional love, what a difference it would make in the church! When our focus is on Christ, we can show His love to meet the needs of others.
The final verse of 1 Corinthians 13 lists three things that will always remain: faith (pistis), hope, and love. The Christian need never be without these gifts. His nature is to believe and to love.