“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:1-1
There are times that I am amazed at how we Christians cherry pick the Word of God! So much rhetoric in this world, so many loose words by those called by the Name of Christ, so much hateful venom from the mouths of believers…excuse me, I should have said from the heart of those who say they are believers because as Luke 6:45 speaks, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heat, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
For those who have it twisted and believe that their false piety and self-righteousness will win others to Christ, you may want to find a quiet place and your knees and ask God to help you understand verse 13, “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” Agape love, self-sacrificing love, love such as Jesus demonstrated in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.“
There is not a person alive who is not included in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” In other words, none of us were so pretty when Jesus drew us unto Himself. We were all created for His glory and we all fall short. We all needed the loving grace and mercy of the Holy God.
“This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith.” Romans 3:22-25
So perhaps, we would find ourselves more faithful to God by allowing Him to transform our hearts to be like His and demonstrate love in Word and action rather than venom and pride. Philippians 2;5-8 tells us, “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, He made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!”
Perhaps, just perhaps, a little humility, compassion, and love would cause those separated from Jesus to see, hunger, and thirst for His glory. Perhaps just perhaps, meditate upon 1 Peter 3:14:
“But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 1 Peter 3:14-16
This is not a post about changing the message. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, every Word in the Bible is true, but sometimes when I read there seems to be a attitude or spirit that is not gentle nor respectful and certainly lacks the love of Jesus. Let’s remember that John 3:16 says “For God SO LOVED THE WORLD” that includes everyone. Perhaps, just perhaps Peter is encouraging us to SO LOVE the world with gentleness and respect that they will receive our witness of the love, grace, and mercy found in Jesus Christ.