Love Never Fails : Let’s not beat people over the head with God’s Word!

Love is kind… 1 Corinthians 13:4

In Luke 10, we read about Jesus being approached by a good, law-abiding leader in the community who asked what was required to inherit eternal life. Jesus asked him what the Law says about that. He answered,

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself.”

Then Jesus told him a story about a man who was beaten and robbed and left to die on the side of the road. Three men walked by him. The first two were religious leaders, and didn’t stop because doing so would be a terrible example of their leadership in the community. I mean… making oneself unclean by helping a sinner would just be a bad example! The third man, a lowly Samaritan, stopped and assisted the man, took him to a place where he could be cared for and healed and then paid his tab.

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man…?” Jesus asked.

“The one who had mercy on him,” the man replied.

The man was forced to see his own Law turned back on him, and admit that loving his neighbor looked a lot like putting the Law aside to help someone in need.

The parable of The Good Samaritan is a great example of love being kind. The Pharisee and the Levite who passed by the poor man who had been robbed and beaten, did so because their laws prohibited them from touching him. The Samaritan was a follower of the same laws, but was viewed as “less than” a Jew because of his mixed race past. He had no reputation to uphold, so what did he have to lose?

Brennan Manning in his book The Ragamuffin Gospel, said this:

“Offering friendship that is real,  unselfish, without condescension, full of confidence and profound esteem…” is the way to pass on the Gospel of Jesus by loving and respecting others. Conversely he says, “Conversion by concussion” which is defined as throwing the Bible at people, is a “Basic disrespect for the dignity of the other.”

We often think of love being kind as we’re loving our spouse, our kids, our parents, our friends. Love is the sort of thing we share with others who reciprocate or we trust will reciprocate sometime in the future.

But the love Paul is writing about in 1 Corinthians, is an evangelistic love. It’s a love that goes beyond the familiar and the friendly. It’s love that reaches toward those who aren’t like us, those who believe differently than we do, those who test our patience, and those who downright irritate us.

Often, as Christians, we live under this notion that we are required to condemn the sins of “non-Christians” in order to not be perceived as condoning their sin. According to 1 Corinthians 13, “If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.” (MSG) So my words, however eloquent and theological and compelling, are zero, zilch, nothing if I have not first loved.

I doubt many of us would walk past a bleeding, dying man on the street and not attend to his need. But there are many people we walk past every day who are bleeding and dying on the inside in ways we can’t readily see. Their actions (alcoholism, drug addiction, sexual promiscuity for example) may reveal a hurting and aching heart. We often tend to beat them over the head with the Bible, offering our brand of “hope” in following God’s Law instead of respecting their dignity and offering unselfish friendship free of condemnation, condescension and expectation.

Let’s be people who put love first and remember that love is KIND, and

Love Never Fails

Love Never Fails

This is the 13th post in my series Love Never Fails for the Write 31 Days blogging challenge. You can click here to go to my introduction page and find links to all the posts in the series. Also, if you’d like to receive these posts directly in your inbox, just enter your email address in the bar to the right. I promise to never share your information.

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