Friday, June 25, 2010

Love lifted me...Praise God!

Although tolerance is not one of the three virtues listed by Paul in his letter to the church at Corinth, I still believe it to be a very important attribute for the mature Christian. Tolerance should, however, be closely balanced with discernment for the Christian to avoid the every present danger we find ourselves in today called apathy.

Aristotle put forth four virtues necessary for a good person to have: temperance, wisdom, justice and courage. While temperance goes a few steps beyond just tolerance, there is also a danger with the balance emphasis of temperance to forget there is One above all else and not all in the world is in balance.

1 Corinthians 13:11-13 (NIV)

11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love

The church I attend recently went through a little tiff. Who really knows where these crazy things start. I guess it's just human nature for us to occasionally want to quarrel...even in matters of faith. Ha! Especially in matters of faith! Everything eventually died down (for the most part), and hopefully we are refocused on our part in the Kingdom.

I really never allowed myself to be pulled into the fray, although one of my fellow members tried to drag me in any way. I guess I was an easy target in his machine-gunner style character assassinations...being just one of the many. Refusing to come unglued and fire back in defensive anger, I adopted the attitude that who I am today is not who I was many years ago, and I owe that completely to God. I live for Him now...not for what other people think of me. As long as I'm being a true light for His love, well sticks an stones...sticks and stones.

It's truly amazing how much peace God has granted me when I can walk up to a man I know has tried to drum up trouble in a church family I hold very dear in my heart and shake his hand. Not in hypocrisy either but in genuine love and concern. That's God folks...not Tony. No, the old me would have tossed and turned at nights plotting a way to fire/get back at him or worse...just belted him in the mouth one day in anger. Not very WWJD.

God has granted me maturity that contains tolerance, love and discernment. And thanks to that last one, I can love my trouble-making brother and still keep an eye on him...just in case.

I'll keep the other eye on my beautiful, loving wife who's still working on the tolerance issue. Her fortitude for defending the ones she loves looms large, and he never receives an acknowledgement of being alive from her. He should probably count his blessings on that fact too.

She's still way ahead of me in most other areas though. Thank You Father for Your tolerance we call grace.


Solid Rock or Sinking Sand said...

What a wonderful message. Thank you for sharing. God's blessings. Lloyd

Tracy said...

It really is God through you that can love a man who's acted hurtfully toward you. That's the kind of the love the Bible talks about when it says that by our love they will know that we are His disciples.