Part eight in the 1 Corinthians 13 series.
6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13:6-7
I am a huge fan of The West Wing (I know I’ve bored you with this before)!
Like most West Wing fans, I dream of the day when it is revealed that Jed Bartlett is real and running for President. I know this isn’t possible but we can live in hope! In the run-up to the US election, I normally watch all seven seasons of The West Wing. This show started my fascination with American politics and CNN is regularly on our TV. Even though it has nothing to do with me, I have a preference for a democratic candidate and am following the primaries in the run-up to Super Tuesday!
I am also aware that I need to get a life!
In recent months I’ve watched the impeachment process play out and have seen the fallout from the “acquittal” of President Trump. Shortly after the impeachment ruling, the President attended the annual National Prayer Breakfast. This year’s guest speaker was Arthur C Brooks who had recently published his book ‘Love Your Enemies.’ He shared the importance of forgiving our political enemies and finding ways to move forward without bitterness and hatred. As he spoke, the recently impeached President sat a few chairs away from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the woman who had taken a lead in bringing about his impeachment.
After Arthur Brooks sat down, President Trump stood up and said these words,
“I don’t know if I agree with you Arthur.”
There was laughter in the room.
There was laughter from many who profess to believe the same as me.
They didn’t appear to be troubled by what the President had said, in fact, they found it amusing.
What seemed to have been missed, or purposefully overlooked, was that President Trump hadn’t just disagreed with the words of Arthur C Brooks, he had disagreed with the words of Jesus Christ. The truth is that Jesus commanded us to love our enemies and yet fellow Christians were taking delight in someone saying the opposite of that. The rest of the speech confirmed that the President didn’t agree with Jesus, or Arthur C Brooks, as he accused Mitt Romney of using his faith as a cover for wrongdoing, and refused to believe that Nancy Pelosi prays for him.
There’s been a lot of talk about being kind to each other over the past week and rightfully so.
Do we mean that we should be kind to everyone, or just those people who share the same viewpoint or outlook as us?
Are we okay to overlook harsh words if they are aimed at someone we don't agree with?
The challenge for all of us is to find loving and respectful ways to shut down words of division, dishonesty, and disrespect wherever they originate from.
It’s such a difficult line to walk.
All too often the idea of always protecting, always trusting, always hoping and always persevering doesn’t always apply to those who hold different ideas to us.
If ‘Love’ had been sat at the National Prayer Breakfast, how would they have reacted?
Would 'Love' have tolerated words that so clearly contradicted the teaching of Jesus?
Would 'Love' have laughed along to make others feel comfortable?
Would 'Love' have shouted abuse, feeling excused for their behaviour because of who was speaking?
From what we have already discovered in this chapter, ‘Love’ would have handled the situation with patience and kindness.
I don't have any real answers on this one but I continue to ask for God’s grace and strength to live out the love of 1 Corinthians 13.
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