But the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13)

Imagine Jesus seeing people with issues and running in the other direction.  Imagine Jesus pointing out everyone’s sin and ridiculing them for problems which they struggle with on a daily basis.  Imagine Jesus looking a person in the face, or, better yet, calling them on the phone, and telling them he couldn’t associate with them because their issue was “to real” for Him to handle. As Christians we know Jesus would never do this to anyone yet I fear we, as His followers, do it consistently to people looking for answers and searching for hope.  

This past weekend various versions of the scenario I painted above happened to two people I am friends with.  Just like me these two individuals have had their share of issues but unlike me they are frequently judged and called out for their struggle because it is uncomfortable and un-relatable for many people.

A member of their own family who claims to be a Christian said they would not associate with one of my friends if the other party was also present.  Their reasoning; it makes their issue “to real”. Suddenly, in one instant the efforts of many to show the love of Jesus to my friends seemed to be quickly swept away by such an ignorant and judgmental position on a deep and complex issue.     

How is it that we so easily forget the sins that have been, and still are a part of our own lives and yet so willingly prioritize and judge the sins of others that we cannot relate to?  Where we not saved by the same Jesus who offers salvation to everyone?  Where we not called to love regardless of the person and their issues realizing we ourself have flaws?   

Jesus not only associated with sinners and the “rejects” of society He sought them out and offered them love and help they couldn’t find anywhere else.  We have no reason to believe everyone Jesus talked chose to follow Him but we do know that Love was shown in all circumstances and at all costs even to the point that He would willingly lay down his life for the very people who had put him there.  

As Christians we must always show the same hope and love to the world around us that Jesus showed to the people in His.  The moment we feel good enough to judge and disenfranchise ourselves with sinners the moment we have forgotten what being a follower of Jesus is all about.           

CV

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5 thoughts on “But the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13)

  1. Karen says:

    Well said, Christopher…well said….

  2. Jeff Strange says:

    The foremost attribute of a Christian is love. But as verse 6 or 1 Cor 13 says; Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth, Unfortunately, many Christians tend to polarize around either the “love” side of Christianity, or the “truth” side of Christianity. In my 25 years as a Christian, I have done both. I have now learned to embrace BOTH love AND truth at the same time. I have seen some who claim to speak for God say, “We need to love homosexuals and embrace them IN their sin, after all, Jesus loves sinners and so should we…..it’s OK for gays to marry….and to ordain them as pastors.

    I have also seen others who claim to speak for God hold up placards saying
    “God hates fags”, after all, God hates sin and so should we….God is destroying America because of the fags.

    I can boldly proclaim that NEITHER of these groups speak for God.
    Jesus loves sinners AND hates sin…..at the same time….so should we.
    Granted, it takes the work of the Holy Spirit to walk in the balance of this.
    I have learned over the years that the devil lives in the extremes. We find God’s heart somewhere in between.

  3. Jeff Strange says:

    We see this played out so well in our current culture. The Christian
    “religous right” from the traditional churches have been bold proponents of the truth side of the equation, but have alienated those looking for love.
    The Christian “religous left” from the “emergant church” movement have rightly had a reaction to the loveless “religous right” but I fear in trying to counterbalance the right, have gone out of balance to the other extreme, one of offering love without truth. Jesus NEVER offered forgiveness without repentence.

  4. Matt Kysor says:

    Jeff:
    How do propose we achieve this balance of truth and love?
    The right offers truth but comes across as hatred in many regards, or so it could seem. The left offers acceptance but in some circles may compromise truth. What we need to do is find exactly what truth is, meaning we dig into Scripture and speak on that only Christ and scripture does. No ambiguity allowed. It would seem the approach of the left which offers acceptance in hopes of forgiveness and repentance is the most effective approach – in our culture anyway. If our approaches & aims ever discount a person of being of value, not only to us, but to Christ then we are missing the mark. When we devalue, dehumanize, or criminalize people, then we are in danger.

  5. Jeff Strange says:

    Matt,

    While I am NOT a “red letter” Christian. I hold the 4 gospels at the beginning of the new testament as no greater (or lesser) significance as the rest of scripture. As it says in John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”. In that context I AM a red letter Christian, meaning the whole bible is “red letter”. I do NOT hold to the “red letter” theology of Tony Campolo and others, that hold the 4 gospels as paramount in all of scripture, for life and practice. Only by embracing ALL of scripture, do we find balance, and God’s heart. We get into error otherwise.

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