1 Corinthians 13:4
“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;”
We all have people we do not like. This is part of human life. There is nothing inherently wrong with this. While each person bears the image of God, God crafted that image in complete uniqueness. We all have different temperaments, interests, and personalities. Thus, in any given group, crowd, or community, there are bound to be people who do not mesh well together.
Too often, people choose to dismiss or reject those who are fundamentally different than them; the “other” as we might say. This dismissal can be based on anything, really: race, politics, theology, social status, hair color; these things become justifications to disregard the person. In its worst form this is called “cancel-culture”: we cancel the voice or experience of a person simply because they do not line up our own perspectives. We routinely see this played out in politics, the news, and on social media.
We Christians, however, are called to live differently than the culture around us. We follow the way of Jesus. Jesus never cancelled those who were around him; never did he reject another for being outside the acceptable norm. To those who were sinful, Christ was forgiving. To those who rebuked him he was patient; to those who rejected him, he was kind. Christ was never rude, boastful, nor prideful. In all things, he expressed the qualities of faithfulness, hope, and above all else, love.
This is the model Christians are called to follow, and it is this Paul speaks to in his famous passage on love. Like Christ’s well-known parable of the Good Samaritan, it is toward the very people we would choose to avoid that we must be lovingly patient, kind, forbearing, and hopeful.
This is more radical than it seems. The way we treat others is rooted in how Jesus treats us. Thus, the call to love is not a call to sentimentality. It is the willingness to live like Jesus. If more people truly embraced this call, the whole world could be transformed. Amen.
By Rev. Kyle Norman
Used by Permission
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