Tag Archive | 1 corinthians 13

the wounded.

Over the years, I have thought a lot about the 2 greatest commandments God has given Christians.

Love God with all your heart, soul, and strength.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

(yes, as yourself)

Jesus spoke these commandments to the Pharisees, who he defined as law promoting, rule following, loveless hypocrites, known for their self righteous religion and pride.

They clashed with Jesus.

I wonder. Do we ever clash with Jesus?

Have we ever found ourselves promoting the law over loving a person and patiently allowing the Holy Spirit to guide them?

Do we find ourselves fulfilled in our faith because we follow the rules?

Have we ever fooled ourselves and rationalized a sin, making an exception?

Are we self righteous because we would not do that sin?

Are we prideful in our position at church? In the way we relate to others? Especially those who share our faith?

Have we dishonored anyone with our straightforwardness through “telling the truth in love”?

How is it that after our lives get on the straight and narrow, we become judge and jury for others? That like the unforgiving debtor, who was shown mercy and forgiven a huge debt, threw someone in prison for owing him a small debt?

We may not be a Pharisee, per say, but we certainly can find their sins in our own hearts.

If we’re honest.

Today, with all of the access to books, pod casts, 24/7 television programming, conferences, preaching, teaching, Bible studies, and more, our lives are filled with knowledge.

But really, are we any different than 5, 10, 30 years ago?

 But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church.

                                                                   1 Corinthians 8

The remedy for pride, self righteousness, rule promoting and law abiding, is the patient, kind, humble, honoring others sacrificial love God has loved us with.

This is my commandment: love each other in the same way I have loved you.

1 John 15:12

That doesn’t mean we don’t follow the scripture. There is so much guidance because God loves us and knows the danger of going our own way.

We follow the scripture because we love Him. Period.

Not for any other reason.

And we love others because we love Him. Period.

Not for any other reason.

When we love people the way God tells us to, we are doing far more for them than giving them the rules first, which is often what happens.

Because they need to love God first so they will keep the rules.

People get hurt in church. And far too often they are not loved the way God says to love them.

They are told, “there is no perfect church.”

Or we go to the scripture to point out where their attitude or behavior is wrong.

That is not patient, kind, honoring, and humble. It carries with it an automated response that teeters on being arrogant from all of the knowledge we’ve gained.

It is not taking the wounded and bearing all things, believing all things, hoping all things, or enduring all things. Instead, it is failing. And when all the prophesying, tongues of angels, and knowledge comes to an end, it is only love that will remain.

There are people in our churches who must learn to persevere and endure hardship when there are disagreements. We grow through difficulty and suffering.

But too often, people are given a solution without the validation that comes with love.

I imagine churches being so filled with 1 Corinthians 13 love, which is much harder than giving the rules, because it requires sacrifice (love your neighbor as much as you love yourself).

A place where there is patience and kindness.

A place of humility.

A place of honor.

The world is watching. Jesus said the world will know we are His disciples by our love for each other.

Love defined in 1 Corinthians 13. If we want a rule, there it is.

If you have been hurt in church, don’t turn away from God.

Church is good and it is part of God’s design for you. God wants us to be committed to each other because no matter what, Jesus Christ and Him crucified binds us together, even with our differences.

Church is vital to the Christian life.

But if circumstances beyond your control have placed you in a season of not having a church, do not feel rejected, disqualified, discouraged, or labeled.

There is an old saying that’s been around for decades: Christians shoot their wounded.

Sadly, this is often true.

Love. Forgive. Be comforted.

Let God help you, guide you, and love you.

Nothing escapes God’s knowledge.

He is over all.

path

 

 

go and do the same.

Love is the one thing people want.

Love is the one thing God wants.

The world needs love because God loves the world.

Through Christians, love should be evident. Love should be the opposite of what people deserve because God loved the world despite what it deserved.

Here is what love is:

Patient.

Kind.

Protective.

Trusting.

Hopeful.

Persevering.

Here is what love is not:

Proud.

Jealous.

Boastful.

Dishonoring of others.

Self-seeking.

Easily angered.

God tells us this:

If it were possible, if one understands all the hidden mysteries of life, have all the knowledge that exists, execute enough faith to move a mountain, give everything they own to the poor, and sacrifice their body to death, but if they did not love, they are nothing.

We would say aren’t all these things proof of my love?

According to God, apparently not.

We can do all kinds of things for God and in the name of God, but not really love.

Love costs us something. It requires we treat others the way we want to be treated.

We can spin it however we want but God knows our heart.

The two greatest commandments:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.”

“The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”

God wants us to love him and love our neighbor.

The way we do this is we are patient, kind, protective, trusting, hopeful, and persevering.

The way we do not do this is when we are prideful, jealous, arrogant, demanding, dishonoring, self-seeking, and easily angered.

When the world looks at Christians, this is what they should see. We are lights in the world. We represent God’s love for the world.

Anything less is just noise.

Noise that sounds like cymbals crashing.

Noise that does not settle gently into a weary soul.

The way God came for you.

Photo by Saved by Grace (100% God, 0% Me) on Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

for you.

There are people who do not go to church.

Some have been hurt.

Some see hypocrisy.

Some don’t believe in God.

So many reasons.

So many experiences.

And God cares about them all.

You may have heard “there is no perfect church”. This is true. But it is not an excuse.

It is often said in situations of conflict so those who have been hurt will realize things happen and the Bible encourages us to forgive, turn the other cheek, pursue peace, guard against division, and basically, let it go.

I agree and I have personally found peace in every situation, whether resolved or not.

Yet, I believe we should be very careful to examine our motives if we are in a conflict and we know we have hurt people with our words or actions. If the burden is quickly placed on the recipient of that hurt to just move on, it may be cause to take a step back.

There are scriptures telling us to be humble, bear one another’s burdens, and serve one another … all wrapped up in fervent love.

This love we should have is defined by the love God showed to the world through placing himself between us and the deadly consequences of sin separating us from God forever.

This is huge. And if we find ourselves getting off track, not always loving the way God wants us to, I think we are in big trouble.

And so, the Church, the people, should be representatives of this love which is immersed in gentleness and humility.

We do this because we love God and aren’t we the light to the world?

It’s not about our ability to move mountains, prophecy, and understand all mysteries.

It’s not about giving everything to the poor or dying a martyr.

All things that would get the world’s attention.

It is only about love. Are we humbling ourselves and allowing God to clean up our oh-so-easily-straying-heart?

Jesus humbled himself when he loved the world through his death.

If we are not humble, do we really love?

And are we growing and maturing into that perfect Church?

It’s interesting how much the world will expect from the Church. That’s because there is something unspoken, yet powerful that speaks to the world.

We must get it right.

glow

Photo credit: Foter.com