Love (Lent #9)

loveThe church was in conflict.  How to be the Church?  What rules would guide them?  Who was in and who was out?  Who got to say?

The question behind all the questions…who are we?

A crisis of identity.

A pastor writing to this church tells them to remember their origin, remember their reason for coming together in the first place.

The advice given is to focus on the way they will treat each other.  They are invited to consider their relationships.

The pastor calls them to love…

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

 

And the pastor leaves them thinking about a time when the incompleteness of this world will be completed.  Who will they be until then?  How will they live?

But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.  (1 Corinthians 13, The Message)

 

There’s a good reason we read these words at so many weddings where couples are asking the same questions… How will we live together?  Who are we going to be now?

I’m reminded today these words aren’t just for early Christians or for newlyweds, these words are for me.

I am called to love.

If I have a disagreement with my wife and convince her I am right, but she feels crushed, I have not loved.

If I insist on “having it my way”, I have not loved.

If I ignore or take advantage of others and their needs, I have not loved.

If I abandon all self-control and discipline and give in to every whim and passion, I have not loved.

If I grumble and complain and avoid the hard work of connecting to others, I have not loved.

I am called to love.

To encourage.  To build up.  To forgive.  To share.  To give.  To protect.  To love.

 

So for the hurts I left in my wake yesterday, I ask forgiveness.

For the pain I added to or ignored, I ask forgiveness.

For the relationships damaged, I ask forgiveness.

 

Asking for forgiveness is the first step in living love.

And I want to be a man who lives love.

It restarts today.

 

Life is better together,
Shawn

 

 

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