1 Corinthians 13
And now I will show you a more excellent way. If I speak in the tongues of men and angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess tot he poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where their are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part an we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror, then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part, then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
When I read this verse certain words jump out at me: but, have not, is, does not, is not, always, never. This words on there own have meaning but in a passage help us to understand what love IS and IS NOT. Up until this morning my week has been one of inconveniences. You know, those little things that get under your skin and they take up way to much of your time and interfere with what must get done at work, home or school. Well, I get mad, really mad when these things pop up. Then yesterday when I was leading a chapel for the youth I serve I read this verse from 1 Corinthians, and what jumped out at me was, "it is not easily angered". OOPS, for two days I was not living out of a mode of love. I don't know what happens to you when you are angry but I get tired, can't sleep and become an emotional mess. Hmm, maybe there is something to this "love thing" scripture talks about.
Right now in American culture there is a lot of hate going around concerning the statements by Dan Cathy, head of Chik-fil-a. Supporters are rallying around the company and today will flood the fast food chain to eat as a sign of their support. While those who feel disenfranchised by Mr. Cathy's statements on marriage are rally to scheduled demonstrations today as well at Chik-fil-a's around the country. Some state governors and mayors have gone so far as to say they will not grant permit license to the company in their cities and states. Each side has dug it's feet in the ground and attacks between the two sides have not been polite. I am sure you have seen it on facebook as I have. There is very little love if none at all right now in our country when it comes to the issue of equal rights regarding marriage. I have my own beliefs and stance on this issue but it DOESN'T matter. Yes, I said what stance I take on this issue does not matter because as a Christian I am called to LOVE. LOVE my neighbor. No matter what issue is being discussed in this country and in the political arena I am a follower of Christ first and an American citizen second. As a follower of Christ I am commanded to love my neighbor. Who is my neighbor? EVERYONE! And when I love there is no room for anger, there is only room for kindness, rejoicing, protection, trust, hope and perseverance.
As Americans we are privileged to live in a country where we are free to speak what is on our mind, and to practice our faith according to our own conscience. I call out to all my friends and those who ascribe to the Christian faith that we exercise these freedoms from a place of love. Remember, we are children of God first and American citizens second.