April 18, 2018
2 Corinthian 13:11… Finally, brothers, rejoice; aim for restoration; comfort one another; agree with one another; live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
Abbreviated, Paul seems to be saying, “Try to get along.” That is a step toward living in unity. To live in unity, I have found that I need to lay aside some of my core values. I am unable to do that. Several weeks ago Karla and I went to a movie that helped me see some things about Paul that I had possibly misunderstood. The name of the movie was “Paul.” In all of his letters, including this one, he held up the gospel message as the final authority in all situations. He held it up against self-esteem, people’s opinions, even people’s needs. But the movie showed another side of Paul: The gospel message was a demonstration of God’s love to us, which put people into the picture. The message was important, for sure; but the reason for the message was equally important… people. I have observed that people can quite easily make themselves important. “He was outstanding in his field” can be changed by adding a space between out and standing. One sentence is self serving; the other is self belittling. For some reason I have a tendency to want to belittle people. I say that carefully because it is not a rule with me; it is more of a point of clarification. It is not my intent to belittle someone; it is my desire to help them not become self exalted. Today’s sentence, from Paul, is challenging me!
What is my motivation? Is restoration my aim or is being right my aim? If you are still reading, I apologize for the personal nature of this writing. Reading the Bible is like that… sometimes the word cuts deep. If I am a true student of the word, I must respond when it does that. I must consider my desire when dealing with another person. Do I want them to see things my way? Or do I want both of us to see things God’s way? I know the correct answer, but can I just say it is sometimes difficult when dealing with people to want agreement with them. Sometimes, I want to muzzle them. Am I the only one struggling here? Today’s verse divides the thoughts and intents of the heart. It hurts.
“Thank you Lord, for not giving up on me.”