What do we do when we are met with love unrequited,
When we have brothers and sisters living lives of hypocrisy,
When the face of man is seen for what it truly is?
I remember sitting in the campus pastor’s office for our weekly meeting. We went through discussing our usual “weekly” things: my life, struggles, plans, questions. And as we were ending our session, I knew I had to ask Pastor Baker this question. It had been gripping me for days now, and I wasn’t sure who else would really understand. I gritted my teeth before the question finally came out…
“How do you love people who are unloving?”
I didn’t realize how much this had really upset me until the words came out of my mouth. I remember my voice cracking by the end of the sentence, as tears began to form above my cheeks. I went on to explain the situation, the people involved, and the struggle that waged within me with my classmates – students studying for a higher calling – who were behaving worse than gossiping middle-schoolers.
After a long talk, the righteous anger that was welt up inside me subsided, and I left, still unsure of how I should feel. The situation didn’t even really involve me! I was just so stupefied to the fact that one of my friends was being treated in such a way –
As an outcast…
As though it were him who had done something wrong…
1Corinthians 13 is known as the “Love Chapter” in the Bible. No matter who you are, I am sure you’ve probably heard it, whether at a generic church service or even at a wedding. They LOVE to use this chapter at weddings (pun intended). Oftentimes this section in Corinthians is used to describe either the love we have for God or the love that God has for us. But if we treat this passage in such a way we will miss the true meaning that Paul was trying to get across to the people.
Think of being in Corinth in the first century. You have a lot of questions, a lot of different social classes, and even more beliefs on theological issues. There was division within the church, and Paul was willing to write a letter to the Corinthian people to answer their questions. He also wrote to try and bring the church together. In the midst of Paul writing about the church being a unified body and giving them further direction on how to properly edify their group in service, Paul writes 1Corinthians 13 to explain to them how they should love one another.
You should be patient to others, kind to others, you shouldn’t envy what others have, or boast and put yourself over others, or be proud… Paul ends by saying that love never “falls to the ground” (never fails, falls, end, etc). All earthly riches, even the gifts of the spirit, have their ending one day, but love for one another has eternal ramifications.
We are inept to love others. Our culture and our own human natures have forced us to focus inward, and in doing so, we have forgotten what it means to be loving despite our differences. Simple misunderstandings have turned into catastrophes where relationships are broken and friendships are lost.
Should this be how Christians behave?
There is a balance though. Several chapters earlier in the first Corinthian letter, Paul does counsel the church on how to handle a man who was in an act of sin. But there is a difference between objective matters rendering salvation, and subjective opinions such as hobbies and the like. I think the rich part of the Christian faith is that despite all of mankind’s differences, people can be united under the name of Jesus Christ. People from all nations, with a cluster of different hobbies and interests, still all fall at the feet of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
Let’s stop dividing ourselves because of our differences, and let’s learn to truly love one another. We need to take a shot to our pride and remember that we don’t always have to be right about everything. Loving means caring for something outside of ourselves.
Live a life outside of yourself.
Live a life where you realize that there is something existentially greater than you and your circumstances. Pursue selflessness.
Live a life of love.
3 thoughts on “Love Lost”
Excellent post. Yes this is why the people that do the most damage to the body of Christ are….Christians. At least they call themselves that. Everyone makes mistakes, and that includes me for sure! I’m referring to those that call themselves Christian, but live like the world and not as the Word says to live.
Thanks for sharing this
Since I’ve never been an in-crowd type personality, it took going through college and reccongizing the good, the bad and the ugly of how people treat eachother and lots of prayer, to make room to love others like Jesus did (does). He doesn’t ask us to love people only when they are nice and seem to have no flaws.He asks that we love till it hurts. There can be so much judgement when differences arise, but it doesn’t give anyone the right to judge, because God alone is the ultimate judge. Thanks for writing this blog Bobby, I believe God will use the words He pours into you.