But if I Have Not Love…

Something strange happened on the way to 2014.   The year has just promised to be very different from the last 3-4 preceding it.   So then, if I am to be true to myself, my writing must reflect the changes that are happening all around me.

What occurs to me most in this season is how much is happening in these times.   We are living in a time of accelerated progress, and unprecedented evil.  But like Esther, we as believers in Christ are anointed for such a time as this.   To be sure, all it would take is a little more courage to speak to the world’s travesties with clarity from God’s Word.   There is a place for admonishment, as some of this “feel good” ministry, has given way to a false belief system in which we are unaware of the spiritual battle going on for our very souls.  But, there are plenty of people who already do that.   I don’t know that cyberspace (or television, for that matter) needs another prophetic Word.   Besides, from my own experiences, the times I’ve spent beating people up with the Word, and using the name of Jesus to do it, have probably alienated more people from the Gospel than that behavior ever drew toward a curiosity about Christ.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love.

34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

It really doesn’t take being a Christian to realize that, as a world of people, we are hurting.   Whether through hunger or hatred, disease or destruction, we are in a sorry state.   But the believer need not be discouraged; this place is not our home.   And through all of our faults, the Good News is the God still saw our need and reached out to us–looooonnnnngggg before many of us reached out to Him.   So, wouldn’t it be wonderful to simply share that with someone else as the Lord gives us opportunity?   Rather than drag others through our own brand of hellfire and damnation, can we just let someone know that the Lord love him or her?   To do otherwise might be your ministry, but it is not God’s.   He never beat up the woman at the well, though He already knew her state of affairs; He met her where she was and told her clearly how she might improve her messed-up position.   He loved her enough to tell the truth without making her feel like any less of a human being.   He had the same love for the man by the pool who offered nothing but excuses for why he couldn’t be healed, and the same love for the adulterous woman who was about to be stoned.

Many times we see the following words as they relate to relationships, and specifically to marriage.   But the message of love is for all of us, and worth many re-reads from each of us, especially as we attempt to minister the Gospel:

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails…

13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

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