"And now I will show you the most excellent way. If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal."
1 Corinthians 13:1 (NIV)
Seventh grade Sunday School. Mr. D decided to take a bunch of seventh graders and show us how to truly love, God's way. It was a defining moment in my faith. As we prepare for lent (only one month away), I thought I would take this opportunity to do a series blog on this wonderful chapter. My goal is to help prepare our hearts for a special time of year - Lent. It will probably run a little longer than Ash Wednesday, but I hope God blesses us in wonderful ways.
I like to talk - no surprise to many of you who know me. When someone asks me to speak on a particular subject and they say, "Do you think you can talk for about an hour?" my typical response is, "I can talk about peanut butter and jelly for an hour!" There are many times when I speak that I believe MY words are right and are truth. Yet, when I reflect back on many of those moments, I often realize that my words - as eloquent as they might be - may not have been shared in love.
How so? I remember times when I may have judged people's actions, or believed my opinion or way of doing something was the ONLY way for that action to take place. I may have shared those words with a great sense of conviction to all those that I spoke to. Then I walked away from that conversation only to feel empty inside - and I'm sure the person/people I was speaking to felt the same way.
Conversations can yield such positive results. Think back to THOSE conversations. They typically are not just shared with a sense of intellect, but also with the most important ingredient - the ingredient of love. When we talk to others, regardless of what language we may be speaking or how the message is shared, when we add love to our words, the words spill out in a most glorious way.
Words are a powerful tool in today's society. They are shared in so many different mediums - verbal, written, and even images. People expand their ability to communicate by learning different languages and using translation systems to ensure their words are delivered. Due to the internet, we have the ability to speak to people all over the world instantly. How Awesome!! Is it?
It is if we are able to share our words in love. As Paul so richly describes, when our words are shared without love, they turn into a "resounding gong or clanging cymbal", neither of which are music to our ears. As I move through my day, I need to remember this. If my words are not filled with love, are they hurtful? If my words are not filled with love, are they worth saying? If my words are not filled with love, am I truly aspiring to be like Jesus?
Let's take a few moments during these next few weeks to re-evaluate our words. Let's stop and think before we speak. Are our words filled with God's Love?? If not, we can risk our words being heard like clanging cymbals. I don't know about you, but I know I don't want my words to be heard like that - and I know I have some work to do!! Let's pray that our words are filled with God's Love!!
Dearest Jesus, you gave Paul the wonderful words of 1 Corinthians 13. As we explore these words during the next few weeks, grant us the wisdom to see these words through Paul's eyes, through YOUR eyes. May we learn where we can improve and may we, with your help, take the necessary steps to move forward in your grace. In your name we pray, Jesus. Amen!!