"If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal." 1 Corinthians 13:1
I can't help but think of a program I watched as a child, "The Gong Show" where three celebrities audition acts - some good, some hilarious and some just awful. When the judges decide they have heard enough they strike a huge onstage gong right in the middle of the act. As a little girl I always thought this to be so rude, cold-hearted, and insensitive. I felt sorry for the performer who was gonged and didn't get to finish their audition and was told just how terrible they were.
I think as Christians we should not be that resounding gong or clanging cymbal in the ears of others when conversing about God's Word. When others voice their opinion or advice and it doesn't coincide with ours we should calmly make our point clear in a loving way. We don't have to judge them and be so quick to cut them off mid-sentence just to have our say.
"Therefore, as God's chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience" (Col. 3:12)
I am no Bible scholar and I don't think any of us have to be to know that God commands us to love first through our actions, words and deeds. What's the saying, "You draw more bees with honey than vinegar"?
"...but do not have love"
That small but beneficial phrase in this scripture verse might be overlooked so many times but is so needed in our everyday correspondence with those around us. Jesus walked this earth with His arms opened wide, welcoming in all who crossed His path. Showing and being the example of what we are to follow. Telling others about the love of God.
"And be kind to one another, tenderhearted forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you." (Eph. 4:32)
The cross is too heavy for us to carry, that was for Jesus alone, and He finished the job perfectly. I think when we dissect the Bible for the purpose of arguing with others just to prove our point, it undermines why God put us here in the first place.
We are called to study God's Word and know it; be able to give an answer for what we believe and why we believe it, but when we use that knowledge to belittle others or let them know just how much they have 'missed the mark', that is when we need to take a step back and reevaluate where we stand with Christ.
"till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:13)
He made each of us uniquely different so that we can be used to bring about His purpose. Our convictions will differ for the most part but as long as we have one common agreement, which is Jesus, then we will all go about our walk with Christ in a manner that pleases Him.
"For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Pet. 1:5-8)
I want to put my best, loving, grace-filled foot forward in walking in Christ's way and serving Him through serving others. But it is also my desire to be confident in His Word, standing on His promises while boldly speaking up when others misuse His Word.
"that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting" (Eph. 4:14)
God is worth our devotion. He is worth sharing with a lost world. He is worth loving others in our obedience and showing kindness in every circumstance. He is a big God and as we grow in grace and knowledge of Him, He becomes larger than life. What a great God we serve.
"but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head-Christ-" (Eph. 4:15)
Now...let's open our arms wider and guard our words more often so that others will see the love of Jesus in us.
I love you & He loves you more!
Lord, Your love consumes me. I pray that every scripture verse I read and understanding you show me will make me want to know You even more. Help me to speak Your truth in love. In Jesus' name. Amen.