[1 Corinthians 13:3-6]
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the 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…”
TRUTH TO BELIEVE:
“In love a throne will be established;
in faithfulness a man will sit on it-
one from the house of David-
one who in judging seeks justice
and speeds the cause of righteousness.” Isaiah 16:5, NIV
That love does not delight in evil seems pretty straightforward. I wasn’t sure what I could use to unpack this scripture when it happened…
Yesterday I was driving in my car down a stretch of road that has been under construction for the past few days. I now know ahead of time that the three lanes of traffic are going to have to merge down to one and that the posted speed limit will jump from 45 to 25 in a matter of feet. But not everyone knows that. Apparently the Escalade that tailed me, zoomed around me, and then cut me off wasn’t aware of the new traffic situation. I don’t think the Escalade noticed the speed limit signs either.
I also happened to know that in another hundred feet or so a nice police officer would be waiting to make sure everyone was obeying the new signs.
Folks, I’ll be honest with you… I was GLEEFUL of this fact. I spoke aloud in my car. “Oh, by all means cut me off. Hurry on up. You have a date with Mr. Officer! Hurry! HURRY!”
As those words escaped my lips I began to think about my attitude and my actions. While love doesn’t delight in evil, love also calls us not to delight in the downfall of my enemies. I know this, and yet I pretty much choose to ignore it.
HOPE TO CLAIM:
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8, NIV
Delight: A feeling of extreme gratification aroused by something good or desired.
Evil: Something that is a cause or source of suffering, injury, or destruction: the social evils of poverty and injustice.
Although you and I might not feel as though we have delighted in evil, we are all guilty of moments when we gratify in the injury or suffering of another.
CHALLENGE TO EMBRACE:
“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” Matthew 5:43-47, The Message
He sets it out for us: “When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best…”
Make a firm effort to respond today with prayer rather than delighting in a downfall. Pray that God would change the hearts of everyone involved and your attitude. Thank Him that He always gives us His best.
Love does not rejoice in evil.
Advent Resource: Praying in Color Advent Calendar. Check out Sybil MacBeth’s blog posts on using color to pray this Advent. This isn’t a product to purchase, but something you can start today with items in your home!