People are People, Everyone has his own story and everyone is different from another. Sometimes we dress ourselves with a better charisma, outlook, or reputation but deep down we are all just people. We don’t come with manuals when we are born. We go through life and develop through various circumstances, events, culture and situations.
It’s amazing that if I put together any group of people, the first things we notice is our differences more than our similarities. When you put people together you notice the whites, the blacks, the haves and the have nots, the educated the illiterate, the cultured and the uncultured.
I wonder how Adam stood before God when He was through. If you are to observe a group of men talking look at how they stand it says a lot, But how did Adam stand before God, How did he stand before His wife Eve.
I agree with you, Love is a difficult thing in such a context. As we go through life we earn titles, some nice some not so nice, we build reputations, we acquire and we loose some, Our society has trained us that everyone walks with a label. Unfortunately, when we relate, these labels hinder us from seeing that people are just people.
As you have heard, some of the major issues in our relationships, and why we are not able to LOVE or experience LOVE, is these titles, labels and personality differences. Sadly we have a very short fuse for one another. So we keep away from people, we harden ourselves- plastic smiles, we develop get along profiles.
Last week we said, If the temperature of our Christian faith or love for God is measured by our love for one another, How then are we doing. Last week we looked at the scripture Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, all your strength and all your soul and love your neighbor as you love yourselves. But we also saw in John, that how can you say you love God who you cannot see, if you do not love your brother who you can see.
We said we need to pray to the Lord of Love to give us love but also acknowledge Loving you neighbor as yourself is anchored on the sanctity of every human being as God created them.
Paul addresses the church in Corinth,that was vibrantly growing. There was a lot of activity, there was a lot of spiritual activity, many of the believers had just discovered their spiritual gifts, some were preachers, some were prophecying and some were doing miracles.
But as the activities went on, the differences of their gifting started being an issue. It is as though some started to compete for attention, while others were seen as not so important. The gift of tongues, prophecy, miracles grew louder and confusing while the gifts of service, administration, hospitality became over shadowed in their importance. The end product was disorder and acrimony. Love was lost.
You can read all this from chapter 11,12, 13. Paul speaks to this church now in 1 Cor 13:1-8.
After reminding them that they are one in Christ- He now emphasizes on Love.
Today my thesis is: Everyone needs Grace.
The most Excellent way– What was Paul talking about- He had just taught them about Order in the church. Was there another way? Love was the excellent way. Order is good but order is not enough for Love. We like to organize people and things to get along. The process of order means we specify, categorize, analyze, specialize, we program, we label- So in church, we have the youth, children, adults, the young adults, the married, the singles, the single mothers, the elderly e.t.c the singers, ushers. These things get us going but these groupings are not the excellent way. If you had a disabled child in your house, do you organize them, put their food separate, and give them a separate room- while it will look convenient- we do not give room for LOVE. You can have a routine of things to do, people by appointments and this is good and orderly, but there is a most excellent way to go about relationships- That is LOVE. Not all LOVE opportunities will fit into a program or appointment. I am systematic man and have tried these programs with my wife, but I have learnt that not everything falls into a routine or program.
Vs 1-I like the use of that first word- resounding gong: People in our relationships can feel like that. There He goes again, talking yapping, yelling, squeeling….that annoying sound. Guess what? we can even sound like that in our spiritual talks. But it’s possible there is no Love.
If I have the gift of prophecy- I am gifted in Knowledge, skills and life. My world is organized, my space is optimal and has no love, I amount to nothing. It is possible to surround ourselves with good skill, persona, faith and charisma to move mountains- But some of these people are the most loneliest. Pastor Bob described the Alpha woman of today- Self made, empowered, resourced and agile- but they make the loneliest and emptiest people, because they have no space for people.
If I give myself to the poor and sacrifice myself for them but have no Love it’s all in vain. It’s true you can be giving yourself painfully, you are bearing in that situation painfully, you cook, you serve, you pay faithfully but there is no love.
SO what is the most Excellent way- LOVE. Because everyone needs grace.
Love is patient– Have you run out of patience, are we so short fused. Let me ask when does your child become a thief- is it when he steals the first time or when it becomes a habit? In the same manner when is someone called an adulterer in marriage? Think about the relationships that need healing is this an area you need to grow in?
Love is Kind– Kindness of deed and of word. Have you stopped those kind deeds and words. Kind deeds are not duties but those things you went out of your way to say, I value you. Kind words- are your conversations empty of these words. Scripture speaks of winning your enemy, through Kindness. I know it’s not easy but Kindness may just be the way to revive that relationship.
Love does not envy, boast or pride- It is true that there will be others always doing better than you, someone else marriage will be better, but that is not a reason for envy, because we start to compare. We all hate being compared. Neither can we think that we are any better or am any better. I may have my order in place, but my standards of Love are still lacking. Instead of pride in things, achievements and activities and meeting goals and deadlines can you be proud of your relationships. Who is proud of you and who are you proud of
Love is not easily angered, it is not self seeking, It is not rude and it keeps no record of wrongs- If we do not learn to give Grace and accommodate each other, we get angry- angry at the small things like time keeping, then how will we react when he fails on a responsibility. Love is considerate and is not rude- We always want to be the first to Say the first thing in your mind, that is rudeness and often it gets us into trouble. Rude speech blocks healing in relationships/Shuts down. I listened to a conversation in a matatu (How the woman threw hands)
Sadly Short tempered people, also have a long memory of record of wrongs. We have not let it go. It’s true it was painful, it’s true no one understands what they did to you, But your healing depends on your willingness to delete that record. Rope illustration.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the Truth- As I shared last week, relationships built on lies have short shelf life. Now lies are not just what is spoken but how they are spoken. Lies on our faces and actions. However Truth is also not intrusive but Gracious. Truth is good but Truth without Grace and is also destructive. We border on self righteousness and condemnation. Truth in our relationship is not the court of law truth, that only leads to condemnation and judgment, but doctor truth that leads to healing. How the doctor breaks the truth and how the lawyer breaks the truth are different.
Love always Trusts- What that is difficult (Win their loyalty not by suspecting them, but loving them out of unfaithfulness)
Love always protects- Many of us are walking looking for an opportunity to expose. Burning to uncover his shame, her weakness and leave them exposed. The more we do this the more we expose ourselves.
Love always Hopes- Things will get better in Jesus Name.
Love always perseveres- The product of Love is not just to make you happy, but to make you stronger.
But where do we get this LOVE? Again this is not human Love but God’s LOVE. God has poured His love into our hearts through His spirit.
Now consider those relationships and pray to God to pour this LOVE For these people.