Sunday, 12 January 2020
Love ... Love ???
I was reading a letter the other day from a man named Paul to some friends of his in Corinth. Here’s what he says:
“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. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3.
Wow !!! That’s powerful stuff I thought. If we have Faith to move mountains yet have not love it counts for nothing. Even if we give all we own to the poor? I’m not so sure about the burning body bit; but this man is over the top I tell you.
Let’s see what Jesus has to say about this.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39.
Love my neighbour? You mean the man who lives a few houses down the road? How far should a man live before he ceases to be my neighbour? 3 Houses? 5? 10? More? This man down the road allows his dog to foul in front of my house, even in my front garden. And I have to love him? I bet Jesus did not have neighbours like him.
Love the guy driving that big van this morning and keeping a distance of just three inches from the back of my car? And hooting his horn time and again even though I was driving within the speed limit. Perhaps he was in a hurry to go to the toilet !
Love that obnoxious pompous boss at work who seems to delight in making everyone suffer? Love him even though he has a hairy pimple on his nose?
Love that woman in church who always looks down on people as if she has a permanent bad smell under her nose? Maybe she should stop eating beans. She looks at people from on top of her glasses so as not to wear out the lenses.
Jesus wants me to love all those people? Including all the boring ones?
I always thought God created boring people so that we may appreciate normal ones ... not to love them.
Is this what Jesus says? Love everyone? And He goes on:
"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you." Luke 6:27-31.
And there I was thinking that going to Heaven is a matter of ticking the right boxes:
Baptism? Done that. Tick.
Go to church on Sundays? Done that. Tick.
A few more ticks here and there and my passport and visa are ready for me to enter Heaven !!!
On reflection, being a Christian is much more difficult than it seems at first.
"Not everyone who calls me 'Lord, Lord' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only those who do what my Father in Heaven wants them to do." Matthew 7:21.
In other words – There are no parrots in Heaven.