Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

CLANG! CLANG! CLANG! Where’s the Love Brethren?

on July 26, 2014

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Waiting For The Word via photopin cc

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned but have not love, it profits me nothing.”1 Corinthians 13:1-3

I’m not going to lie. I’ve found myself as of late being disappointed in the state of the “church” in general here in America. While I see God working in some wonderful ways, and while I love my brothers and sisters in the Lord earnestly, I find that as a body we are losing one of the key ingredients in the building of the church and God’s Kingdom….LOVE.

The church was built on Jesus Christ, the Chief Cornerstone. The foundation that He laid for His people was and is love. He is the author and perfecter of love. He is the beginning and total fulfillment of love. He demonstrated the greatest love of all as Jesus spread wide his arms and bore the agony of our sin and our death upon Himself. He loved us first. He loved us while we were yet sinners. His love sustains us and His love endures forever. God is love. God and love cannot be separated…as His followers we are called to a higher, deeper and unconditional agape love. That love is what astounds the world, draws in the lost and softens the hardest of hearts.

And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.” 1 John 4:16-17

CLANG! CLANG! CLANG!

Here they come! The pharisees. The sadducees. The scribes. The religiously pious, They come with their knowledge and understanding, ready to enlighten us all. They come with their rules and legalism, ready to bind us with rusty chains of the law. They come to debate, to argue and to spiritually dominate. I know them all too well because, sadly, I’ve been one from time to time in my life. Yes, it’s true. I’ve been the person who is so into head knowledge and yet so lacking in love and grace. I’ve gone through times of such loveless, merciless intellectual assassination that I have probably done more harm than good, even as I wielded the Bible. I confess. I repent.

You see, I love to study the Word of God, which is good. There’s nothing wrong with knowing and understanding the Bible. That’s something we should all want and work towards. There’s nothing wrong with sharing the Word, teaching, encouraging and even correcting. These are all practices of the New Testament church. Yet there is often a problem, and it’s a problem of the heart.

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned but have not love, it profits me nothing.”

There it is. There’s the problem. It’s a heart disease. It’s heart failure. It’s a lack of love. Where’s the love? Where’s the love in your words? Where’s the love in your good works? If love isn’t the motive, the means and the result, than your many words are nothing but wasted breath. Your intellect might as well be a garbled mess. Your eloquent and rehearsed speech might as well be the stuttering of a fool. Even your God-given gifts are wasted without love.

Your knowledge… FAIL

Your spiritual gifts….FAIL

Your faith….FAIL

Your generosity….FAIL

Every good work…FAIL

Without love, you’re nothing but a clanging cymbal. I’m so tired of clanging cymbals!!! Maybe it’s because I’m a music teacher? When I see believers bickering with meanness, rudeness and complete indifference to their brothers and sisters in the Lord, I feel like covering my ears with my hands and running for cover. Oh dear ones…don’t you see it? Don’t you get it? Don’t you realize that God gave you your gifts, your intelligence, your understanding and the Holy Spirit so that you could walk in love? He is calling you to love. He says in His Word, clear as day, that love is more important than winning a debate or getting the last word in. It’s about love.

I’ve been there, my friends. I’m not saying you can’t discuss theological differences, share words of correction (when you have an appropriate relationship to do that) and speak the truth with boldness. There just needs to be love. Each motive and word should be marinated and dripping with love and grace. That usually means letting go of pride. It means not needing the last word. It means that you are more interested in the well-being of the other person than proving you are right.

Not sure if you’re speaking in love? Read on in 1 Corinthians 13:

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”

So here’s your test. Ask yourself this…

Is what I’m saying patient and kind?

Am I motivated by envy or boasting in pridefulness?

Are my words flavored by arrogance and rude tones?

Do I have to have it my way?

Am I irritated at this person or resentful?

Am I happy if I see him/her fail?

Am I truly happy for him/her in success?

Am I willing to bear ALL things this person does and says? 

Do I believe this person in faith?

Do I hope nothing but the best for this person and our relationship?

Am I willing to put up with anything to show love and grace and friendship?

Does my love have limits? 

DO I LOVE THIS PERSON?

I pray that we can answer these honestly and be willing to confront ourselves. No doubt we have all failed in some way. I know that I have. I’ve utterly failed. Let us return to love. Let us inspire love and rebuild this church on Christ’s love. That’s what He wants. He makes it abundantly clear. It’s time to let go of our need to be right, our selfish motives, our pride and self-righteousness and let us LOVE ONE ANOTHER!

In Christ’s abundant, unmatchable, radical, deep, unconditional and everlasting love I leave you to it.

 

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