Friday, October 14, 2005

Love

"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." (1 Cor 13:4-8a, ESV)
What is love? Of course, we love to talk on the topic of love (no pun intended), and such a passage is more often than not used when thinking (dreamily) about the special someone in our life, or when at a marriage ceremony, the passage used during the short message is this one (and people think "booooorrrriinnnngg...haven't we heard about this a thousand times before?").

(No, I do not write this because of certain recent changes in my life, but please read on anyway, you might catch the reasons for this post. Moreover I might not write as frequently as before.)

In actual fact, if you read the letter more in it's entirety, you'd realise that this passage belongs to a larger section (1 Cor 12-14:25) where Paul is describing how different people should use their different gifts/abilities for the building up of the church (of believers) in love.

(Of course in understanding what Paul originally meant we can also see how it applies in the context of marriage, but it also only means that loving your spouse/family in marriage entails a lot more than just whispering sweet nothings in their ear, or opening the door for the lady, or sending her home everyday, or buying gifts for him/her, or the yearly celebration of the anniversary, etc. But that's a topic for another post, if written.)

This brings up certain implications on how we act towards other believers and non-believers (in love), to bring to them what is best for them:

- (v4) patient: Simply put, we don't expect results of our work in ministry immediately (which also makes sense since the christian's walk with God is a process, not a one-off thing)

- (v4) envy: The bible-study leader/pastor/sunday-school teacher simply is not holier than the one who washes up the dishes; neither is the musician or the guy manning the AVA console of a higher standing in the eyes of God than the guy who mans the church bookshop (which probably sometimes entails fending off kiasu people attempting to wring out a bargain of $0.10 off the Two Ways to Live tracts which costs less than a dollar anyway)

- (v4) boasting and arrogance: In the light of all gifts/abilities being given (not earned) by God (12:11,28) for the building up of the same church (12:12-13), there simply is no reason for such attitudes anymore.

- (v7-8) endures...forever: When the people don't seem to be thinking much, even though they can perfectly recap for you at the end of each lesson what the passages were talking about, when they don't seem to be responding to the Word of God with the response it warrants, when the ones you decide to encourage to live a godly life are exactly the ones who (literally) spit on your face and reject you time and again, when the doctrine you faithfully teach gets rejected by the church leadership (or the rest of the church/organisation you work for), when the opposition to the gospel and the christian gets so bad you wish that they'd just 'crucify' you and get it done and over with, when we so discouraged/tired out/disillusioned from all this, how long should we persevere to live a godly life, to edify other believers? Forever, till we die, for others' sakes.

There's plenty of ways we can see God's love: (Rom 2:3-5)in putting up with sin for the time being so that people can come to repentance rather than rest on their inexistent laurels and face the ultimate judgement; (Rom 5:6-8)shown ultimately, decisively and powerfully in the giving of his only Son to die for the very enemies he's angry with, (Rom 8:29-30)that those that belong to Him be glorified with his Son when Christ comes again, the good that is really nothing short of the best that we can get.

Ultimately, when we're tempted to judge others with our thoughts or even our speech and actions, let us be reminded that (Rom 3:9)we all came from the same plight (all equally UNloveable), only that some of us are saved earlier in time, and that it IS of the utmost importance that as many people hear the gospel as possible, so that they may come to a saving faith in the only solution provided by God himself. And in obeying the great commision given by God to us christians, the way we should be living it out is in love.

If you share the same faith please pray for me also, that I'll continue to love the others around me (be it in NTU, or in church, or family, or anywhere else), striving to help them understand what is christianity and to live it out, and not to be proud as I have the tendency to be, or to be discouraged and to give up as I may be tempted to time and again.

7 comments:

stiTcHx (><,) said...

Love is in the air~ Hahaha...

Hey wat happen to the poll thingy?
Better update soon, else i shall boycott hahaha... =p

yifen said...

Thanks for the sharing. It's a very good reminder to me as well. :) Let us continue to encourage one another to love others even in the most difficult circumstances. Will be keeping you in prayer!

hamster said...

POLL!!! *Gnaws on towel to regain self-control*

Anyhow, well said. The interesting thing to note, however, is that what you mentioned in your post, is equally important in a marriage. Which as you've mentioned is a topic for another post. But I thought it'd be interesting if you looked at the examples you raised, and placed them in relation to a spouse or a significant other... After all, a husband's first ministry is to his wife, and vice versa.

Anyway I also need the same reminder and prayers. Let's pray for each other to remain humble and not judge, remembering our wretchedness before God gave us faith in Him who washed us free of our sin!

lagon said...

love cat kill cow!!!

GunBlad3 said...

Thanks yifen and hamster~ =)

adrian said...

Hey bro, thinking about this entry reminded me that we covered it during PTBC2004-The Spirit of Truth or Confusion and just to remind us of a quote that was shared:

"Love would rather be deceived in gentleness than injure a brother in retaliation"

Oh, just to share as well, "patient" as used in the original greek literally means "long suffering". Makes one remember that service will 100% come with suffering. And love is one of the things that pushes us through :)

GunBlad3 said...

Yeps, thanks for the reminder =)