While reading in 1 Corinthians 13, otherwise known as the "love" chapter, I noticed something. It's a very familiar passage of Scripture. We even had it read at our wedding since it's my husband's favorite. You know how it goes, "love is patient, love is kind..." etc. In trying to meditate and dig more deeply into Scripture to find hidden treasures, I came across 1 Corinthians 13:5 "...does not act unbecomingly, it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered..." and I thought WOW what a lot of meat to chew on.
Break it down a bit - "does not act unbecomingly". I've been examining myself lately to see if there is anything in me which doesn't measure up with how Christ would want me to behave. One of my new favorite memory passages is Psalm 139:23-24 "Search me, O Lord, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way."
I have to wonder if there are things I laugh at which grieve my Savior. Or words I speak which hurt the witness He would have me be. I'm supposed to be letting Christ get control over my tongue according to Scripture. Look over James 3:5-10 where it tells us the tongue is "the very world of iniquity".
And that's just in how I TALK! What else is there in my behavior He would have me change? I don't know yet, but He'll show me.
How about "it does not seek its own"? Here we go. How many times have I heard, or said myself, that I don't DESERVE to be treated in such a way? Well, I'm right. I don't deserve to be treated as well as I am on this earth. I DESERVE, because "the wages of sin is death" Romans 6:23, death. I gave up my "rights" when I accepted the Savior who DID NOT deserve the treatment He endured for me. He gave up His rights so that I, made perfect by His blood, may spend eternity with Perfection. I didn't deserve anything except the horrible consequences of my sin, but He loved me enough to give up what He DID deserve. That's love.
Next is "is not provoked". I'm in trouble again. My hubby tells me I'm a candidate for road rage. I don't think I'm quite that bad, but we've noticed I tend to attract the "idiot" drivers. Hubby says he doesn't encounter the same volume of bad drivers on the road when I'm not in the car. I can't attest to that, obviously. But I can tell you I seem to find them. And, yes, I do get provoked. Easily.
When my son doesn't obey directions and it ends up causing life in the house to be more difficult. Yep, I'm provoked. When my daughter chews through another cord on something plugged into the wall in the 10 seconds I ran to the restroom. Provocation again.
I think, though, the biggest issue for people in general is the last part of the first Scripture. The "does not take into account a wrong suffered". How many marriages would there still be if this were the case? How many families would still be speaking to each other? How many of us would have spoken more kindly to someone at work? How many kids would know they were loved by their parents? How many churches would be actively thriving for Christ? How many more people would know the Savior?
When something is "taken into account" it is recorded. It's logged somewhere in our brains so we can bring it back up again. I call that historical fighting. We dredge up the most minor things to fire at the offending person. It all goes back to the title of today's blog..."I DESERVE". We take those wrongs and file them away in our little brains because we feel we DESERVE better. We deserve to be treated more kindly, be more appreciated, more -fill in the blank here-. I'm not saying we should excuse obviously wrong behavior. Scripture is pretty clear on those, but what about those slights we record?
Today, ask God to show you something new. Ask Him to show you where you are dwelling on whatever that person just said which tweaked you. Ask Him to give you His forgiveness, and remind you they are still a work in progress, JUST LIKE YOU ARE. None of us are THERE yet. We won't be getting THERE until Christ returns and takes us Home. Ah, Home...that's for another day.
In all of this remember, 1 Corinthians 4:4-5 "For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord. Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts; and then each man's praise will come to him from God."
Don't take all of this on at once. Pray about what the Lord would have you see and work on in your walk with Him. Don't just assume you know. He might surprise you with something you hadn't even thought was an issue. Let HIM be the One to examine your heart and shed light where necessary changes need to be made.
In all things, PRAY. Seek Him. He promised those who seek Him will find Him. I pray you seek with all your heart today.