Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Have You Moved the Period?

How much easier would life be if the period was placed sooner? Oh to deal with the abstract rather than the clear-cut.

"By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. . . . [and] love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude; it does not insist on its own way; its not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth; it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things; love never ends."

These are the words of Jesus and Paul. Jesus, as he knelt to wash his disciples' feet, commented that love would be a distinguishing characteristic of the Christian (John 13.35). Paul was not satisfied with the abstract, so he elaborated and gave us a definition of love that we cannot escape (1 Corinthians 13.4-8).

It is easy to dismissively say, "I love my neighbor." it is much harder to actually love my neighbor. Jesus is calling for action on our part. Love is action not theory. Love is not mere words; it is demonstrated by thoughts and feelings, character and values, behaviors and motives. Love is a real thing. It is tangible. It is seen and heard and felt.

Consider The Message, a paraphrase of Scripture. Paul says, "Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. Love doesn't strut, doesn't have a swelled head, doesn't force itself on others, isn't always me first, doesn't fly off the handle, doesn't keep score of the sins of others, doesn't revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end. Love never dies."

Have you moved the period?