I learned a new word in 2020 — vitriolic. My dictionary app defines it as: “filled with bitter criticism or malice: vitriolic attacks on the politicians“. Simply put, it’s mean, angry, hateful, insulting, rude, responses and comments on social media, or elsewhere publicly, because we no longer respect other peoples’ opinions. We see a post on social media and immediately, instantly, we respond or comment with an angry or insulting outburst.
1 Corinthians chapter 13 is one that I usually skip over because it’s known as the “love chapter” quoted at weddings. That’s the problem. Instead, let’s drill down on it and grasp what the Apostle Paul is trying to tell the church in Corinth and us today…
1 Corinthians 13
If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! 9 Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 10 But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.
11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.1 Corinthians 13 NLT (bold emphasis mine)
So, are You a Noisy Gong or do You Respond with Love?
34 “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”John 13:24-35 NLT
He also said,
43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!Matthew 5:43-44 NLT
Do you? Do you pray for those who persecute you? Do you pray for those who…
- disagree with you?
- belong to another political party?
- are of a different race, ethnicity, age, religion, state, country, even a different part of town?
- have insulted you or someone you love?
- have hurt you or someone you love?
- are not as educated as you?
We Need to Grow Up!
There was a time when we were young and stupid and didn’t know better. However, we are grown-ups. We need to “put away childish things.”
There are many times when I start to respond to a tweet or a post and the Holy Spirit stops me. Think! Is what you’re going to say helpful? Is it filled with love and respect? Will it bring glory to God? Or are you ready to put the person down? Yes, they are an idiot and they’re stupid. But you don’t have to say it in public. We wouldn’t say it to them if we were face-to-face, would we? Probably not. We’d get punched and start a fight.
Then why say it on social media? Is it because we’re more anonymous? I like what several Christian pastors say… they won’t respond to comments and criticisms from people who don’t have their real name and picture on their social media profiles. If they want to hide behind a fake name, then they can stay that way. I agree. I won’t acknowledge them either.
Arguing Gets You Nowhere
You’re not going to change their mind and they’re not going to change your mind. So, arguing is useless. Life’s too short! Why spend it arguing? Don’t you have anything better to do? Anything more constructive?
Seeing Things Imperfectly
12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.1 Corinthians 13:12 NLT
Pastor Sandy Adams said something interesting in the ThroughTheWord lesson for this chapter…
“The Bible tell us all we need to know, but it doesn’t tell us all there is to know. That’s why that’s not what’s perfect or complete.”Pastor Sandy Adams
Heaven is the only place where we — and everything around us — will be complete. That’s the “then” Paul refers to here.
13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.1 Corinthians 13:13 NLT
Everything that we see around us in this world will disappear, but 3 things will last forever: faith, hope and love. And the greatest of these is love!
What Does it Take to Put Love First?
It takes having Jesus in your heart.
Here are some oldies that should come back….
Funny, we used to sing these in the “folk masses” in the Catholic church I attended in high school.
Soli Deo Gloria — To God Alone Be the Glory!