November, 19 2014
1 Corinthians 13:1-3
Truth without Love
1st Corinthians 13 is a very popular chapter in the Bible. It’s used in weddings and over and over again by people talking about love. The beginning of the chapter talks about how basically everything means NOTHING if we do it without love. There is also a popular song about these first few verses by for King and Country.
Have you ever heard someone touting the fact that she’s “brutally honest” or that he’s “just a truth-teller”? While God is truth (John 14:6) and wants us to be about the truth, speaking only the raw truth and not loving others is a very brutal act. According to 1 Corinthians 13:1, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” Eloquent speech without love is just empty sound. In fact, all truth and no love is brutality.
In our world, the concept of love is terribly misunderstood and distorted, and those distortions affect the way we hear God’s Word. Scripture uses three Greek words for the English word “love”…[but this is the one] Paul uses liberally in this chapter: agape, which means a selfless, giving, you-before-me love. Agape love is an act of the will, an ongoing choice to make.
Often when we use the words “I love you,” we don’t mean, “I commit to placing your needs above my own.” Instead we mean, “I love what you do for me and how you make me feel. How you treat me is working for the person I truly love most—me.”
That is not love. That is self-centeredness. That kind of love uses words self-servingly, as a weapon. Real love speaks the truth but never brutally.
Which is why, Paul explains, if we speak as clearly and plainly for God as angelic messengers but don’t love the people we’re addressing, then our audience can’t hear the message over the ringing in their ears. No matter how clearly we understand God’s truth or how capable we are of applying truth to life, if we don’t have a broken heart for the people we’re trying to reach, we are wasting our time. Our words are just a clanging in their ears. Our effort wreaks destruction in their lives instead of growth. When we present the truth aggressively or with a critical attitude, our listeners are irritated by what we say rather than edified. We’re clanging cymbals.
One important value we have at SFC is “DOING: we selflessly demonstrate our love for Jesus by putting others ahead of ourselves and serving one another, the local communities we live in, and the entire snowriding culture.” Whatever it is that we are DOING, like standing in the lift line or hiking a feature in the park, we need to make sure we do it with LOVE, with a compassion for those around us, and put them ahead of ourselves.
Read more about this devotional HERE.
How can you LOVE others
Have you ever seen someone try to preach the Gospel on facebook and it go terribly wrong for them? Why is it difficult to do something like this on social media?
Read verses 4-7 and pick one characteristic of love that resonates with you. Why would the world be a better place if everyone had that characteristic?