Has God ever hit over the head with someone so hard, so many times that you get a spiritual knot in your head? God has been doing that with 1 Corinthians 16:14 this week:
“Let all that you do be done in love.”
Really, Paul? An impossible task—I give up. Because, really…I’m not a very loving person.
Now, I take pity on people easily. I love hanging out with people. I love having coffee with people. I love using people for my own ends. But I don’t really love people.
Kind of like the Corinthians. Let me tell you, they were jerks. Especially to their spiritual “father” Paul. They treated him like the “scum of the world” (1 Cor. 4:13). If Paul’s churches were kids, the one at Corinth would be the “naughty kid” who hits you in the head with a ball for no odd reason.
And as you read this first epistle, you realize they had some major issues—they were incredibly divisive, joining spiritual “parties” and campaigning against each other. Team Peter: #feeltherock. Vote Apollos for A.D. 55: #apollomentum. Apostle Paul Crew: Make Corinth Great Again.
That’s why they needed one last reminder at the end of the book. This verse is kind of like his Spirit-inspired P.S.: “Do everything out of love!”
I need that P.S. too. In fact, I need that verse plastered on every mirror, wall, and forehead I have. Because I certainly don’t do everything out of love.
Most of the time, I do everything out of pride. I treat people as tools to a selfish end. Obstacles in my path. Especially coming off a weekend spent running a kids’ program for a bunch of homeschoolers. I had seventy 2nd-graders in my charge—I need therapy. I certainly didn’t love them as I should. But for me, it’s not just kids…
This past week, a very good friend stopped me mid-conversation and said, “Matt, forgive me for reproving you, but you seem to talk bad about a lot of people behind their backs.”
Ouch. And this was from a freshman! Come on! But it was so true…
If everyone were just as sanctified as me, life would be a whole lot simpler. Right? If everyone were not so depraved, loving them would not be so hard. Why do people have to be so annoying? So easily made fun of? So socially awkward? So…not like me?! I could love people if they all were mini-Matts!
Thank goodness there’s only one of me. Because I’m just as hard to love as everyone else—no, harder. But praise the Lord, God does anyway! And that’s what needs to compel me to do everything out love to the most unlovable of us all—because when I see my sin, I’m still amazed that God would love me. Like Paul, I’m spurred by Christ’s love (2 Cor. 5:14) to love those for whom He has died.
Instead of getting mad that people don’t do what I say, don’t listen to me, don’t appreciate my investment…I’ll just do what a good friend of mine recommended: I’ll care for them. Love them. Do everything around them out of love.
That sounds like a lot harder life—but a lot simpler one. And a lot more Christian one. As a good friend of mine said…
“For a Christian, to live is to love, no exception necessary.”