Do I Have to Love Them?
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Verse 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
We have been talking about how love is important in the family of the Church. Today we take the time to look closer at the attributes of love before we venture deeper into what it means to be a true Christian family.
We mentioned the other day how the words of this passage are so familiar that we don’t often take the time to really look at what it means to love like this. Things like being patient and kind are not things the world gives much heed to these days and is an excellent way for the Church to prove we are different. In a world where kindness seems on short supply and patient is often nonexistent, a Church where both were in full supply would be a beacon of light and hope.
If patience and kindness are so important and only take the decision to do them, why are they in such short supply even in the Church? Is the effort really too hard? Of course this must be genuine kindness and patience and that takes a hard, deep look at our hearts. We need to acknowledge and confess the reasons that we are sinning against the Church. When we hold unkindness and impatience against those that we are supposed to be worshiping with, not only is our worship tainted in the eyes of the Lord but our witness to the world around us is also tainted.
We don’t like to think of ourselves as unkind or impatient but how much more disturbing to think of ourselves as prideful, envious or boastful. These three are harmful to the Church even though they seem celebrated in the world. When these are present in the Church family we cannot be in true fellowship. There is no place in the Church for these things. When we are living as boastful or prideful people we are putting ourselves above others and that goes to show that we are not living as Christ lived. When we are envious, we show that Christ isn’t enough for us.
As a Church we are called to be loving towards each other and that requires, not merely suggests, that we live out these character traits of love. When we genuinely love each other, lives will be changed – those in the Church and those of the world. What if the reason that the world has come to be what it is today, is because the Church has failed at living as God would have us live?
Making It Personal
Are there people in the church community that you don’t want to be loving towards? Why don’t you care about obeying God by loving them? What is your first step towards obedience?
Making It Personal Kids
What does it look like to love others? Do you have people you find it hard to love? Who can you make a choice to love today?
Father, You are love and if we are in You we are to be loving too. Please convict us of ways we fail to love each other and build up love in Your Church. In Jesus’ name, amen.