The Most Excellent Way – 1 Corinthians 13:1-13
If I… have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
I have to be honest with you. It seems like I hear a lot of clanging cymbals every October. And for some reason there are more of them every fourth October! Our culture is full of people who believe they are “right” on every issue… to the point where their speech and treatment of others is less than loving. All you have to do is spend some time on facebook (or the comment section of your local newspaper), and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about! Sadly, in this regard, our churches are not much different from the world around us.
Some of you have observed that I’m not particularly political… and you’d be right. It’s not that I don’t think the issues are important, but that the entire political machine in our nation seems to be built on principles that are so foreign to the Kingdom of God. It seems that politicians and issues can’t succeed without smears, lies, and exaggerations. People are manipulated through campaigns, media outlets, around the water cooler, and sometimes even from the pulpit.
What’s truly unfortunate is when these sharp political divisions seep into families and churches. While you might have a hard time imagining it, there are strong, committed Christians of conviction who will vote differently from you on nearly every single issue. And believe it or not, they might have an equally hard time imagining that you might be a strong, committed Christian of conviction as well! Dr. Dan Boone, president of Trevecca Nazarene University, suggests that, “For Holy Conversation to occur, we must at least be in touch with the reality that we could be wrong.
In essence, Paul is telling us that we can be absolutely right… we can have all sorts of wisdom… we can have the doctrine down pat… we can accurately discern God’s will on how to vote. But if we can’t love our neighbor, then we’re just making a bunch of noise. We must not only seek to “know rightly,” but also to “love rightly.” Let’s not be “clanging cymbals” this political season… but let’s be committed to Holy Conversation and loving each other deeply.
I’ve been so loved that I’ll risk loving too.
I know how fear builds walls instead of bridges;
I dare to see another’s point of view.
And when relationships demand commitment,
Then I’ll be there to care and follow thro’.
– Gloria Gaither