In Part 2 of the Discovering Love series, we unearthed the problem that God didn’t give you every gift you’re going to need to get through this life. He gave some of what you need to other flawed human beings.
God’s intention with this is to draw you into relationships. The trouble is, we don’t find each other trustworthy enough to reach out for what we need from one another. We injure one another. We fail one another. We offend one another. If the other Christian has something we require, we prefer to go without since there is no risk to the heart.
I want you to desire the best gifts. So I will show you a much better way. – 1 Corinthians 12:31
Unfortunately, 1 Corinthians 13 is generally only read at weddings nowadays. Paul wrote this to people who were trying to figure out which one of them was dominant in the church. These people would be the most spiritually gifted in God’s eyes and therefore the one that should establish direction when conflicts arose. Instead, he told them they needed those people that they suspected should be following them more. We should read this with the same thought in mind. Maybe we can think of the people in the church we “don’t like” when reading this:
Love is kind and patient, never jealous, boastful, proud, or rude. Love isn’t selfish or quick tempered. It doesn’t keep a record of wrongs that others do. Love rejoices in the truth, but not in evil. Love is always supportive, loyal, hopeful, and trusting. Love never fails! Everyone who prophesies will stop, and unknown languages will no longer be spoken. All that we know will be forgotten. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (CEV)
This is the central theme to Christianity. If we can live this out, we will have found God’s purpose for our lives.
But how do we get there? How do we feel that way about people who are mean or gossips? What if those people are selfish? You might think:
“They aren’t living the way 1 Corinthians 13 says we should.”
“They’re worse than I am so they should change first!”
“They’ve (attacked / gossiped about / been selfish towards) me!”
“Are they even Christians? I don’t know!”
It’s true. God asks us to love imperfect people.