[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 but rejoices with the truth.”
TRUTH TO BELIEVE:
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.” Isaiah 61:1-3, NIV
We discover today that not only should we not delight in the downfall of our enemies, but it is made clear that we should rejoice when that person now walks in love.
It’s tempting to harbor anger, to desire justice… but Paul challenges the Corinthians to congratulate others for the evidence of success in their lives. We should rejoice when the truth is made known. We are to seek the best for our neighbor, even if we find them lacking.
“Love is never glad to hear bad news about another person. Love never says, ‘Well, they finally got what they deserved.’ Love is never happy to hear that a brother or sister fell into sin. Love does not enjoy passing along bad news. This certainly goes against the grain of modern life. We all know that “Bad news sells” and that good news goes on page 75. That’s why they put those supermarket tabloids right by the checkout counter. We all want to hear the latest juicy gossip about our favorite celebrities. True love isn’t like that. It turns away from cheap gossip and unsubstantiated rumors. And even when the rumor turns out to be true, love takes no pleasure in the misfortunes of others.” Dr. Ray Pritchard
GULP. Anyone else feel convicted?
HOPE TO CLAIM:
“It gave me great joy to have some brothers come and tell about your faithfulness to the truth and how you continue to walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” 3 John 3-4, NIV
We should never be joyful over someone’s sin. Instead we should rejoice when they walk in God’s ways. If this feels anything but natural, you are not alone. I’m challenged today to let my love be without hypocrisy.
“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.” Romans 12:9, NASB
CHALLENGE TO EMBRACE:
“Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them.” Romans 12:14 NLT
Pray that your heart would soften to this challenge today. Ask for an extra dose of compassion- that you would see even those who mistreat you as deserving of your love. Pray that God would let the message of the Gospel wash over you all day long. Let His Truth be the fuel for love.
Love rejoices with the truth.
Advent Resource: God is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. This book comes highly recommended by one of my nearest and dearest friends. Becca’s desire to savor the mystery of the season causes me to want to pick up every book she reads… this one by Bonhoeffer especially!