Thursday, October 14, 2010

"Love is not easily offended." - 1 Cor 13

I would like to reserve the right to become highly offended on occasion. I would like to be allowed the occasional biting retort or the well-timed pity party. I won't abuse it. I promise.

Unfortunately, this verse doesn’t give any qualifications like “except when you are wronged” or “except when you are having a bad day” or “except when [insert favorite excuse here]”.  It just says, “Love is not easily offended.” Period. Full-stop. End of story.

Our excitement of the day today was testing the alarm system in the school. We’ve had a lot of theft on the base lately, and so I decided to figure out how to work this alarm system, which has been sitting unused for the past three years. We discovered that it sets off this HUGE siren, the sound of which makes your heart leap in your chest and instantly starts your adrenaline pumping.

This is something akin to the feeling I get when someone points out a flaw in me. Let’s just say, I don’t take it well. My fight or flight reflexes instantly kick into full gear. Fortunately, God must have known my propensity to take offense and hence did not gift me with the ability to come up with very witty comebacks. In such an instance, I’m usually speechless even though I’m fuming inside and spend the next two days thinking of exactly the right words I should have said to put that person in their place. (And let me tell you, I can come up with some real zingers.)

But God seems dead-set on working out all these little bumps or flaws in our character and living in community on a base like this provides Him with ample opportunity to do so. What a great responsibility He has given us, who call ourselves “Christians”, in entrusting us to be the representation of His love in this earth, and even more so those of us who call ourselves “missionaries.”  I shudder to think sometimes of what a poor picture my life is painting of God’s love. If all that a person ever saw or experienced of God was my life, what would He look like to them? Probably, not very good, I must admit. And so God is ever refining my love, testing me, prodding me, pushing me with a fervor which is not deterred by my complaints or slowed by my failures and is totally unaffected by my offended ego until some day, hopefully, people can look at my life and see only His.


franceSujong said...

Just wanna say when I look at you I see an example,
when I look at the way you work with students I see patience and kindness
When I see how much effort and work you put into ELS there can be no criticism on my part.
You are a great leader and I gladly honour you here for who you are. Because it IS God living through you that I can see. bless you sister

Tom from small town USA said...

Not sure where you are in this big world, but I'm in a small town in USA. Thanks for sharing I COR 13. My wife and I basically have nothing left (of marriage.) She was offended by something I said tonight. I wish she could over look unintentional words and give a gracious, loving response. Oh, well.

Emily said...

dear tom, i pray that God will give more than enough of his grace during this difficult time. remember, He is a last-chance, beyond-all-hope kind of a God and delights to come through for us in the most difficult of situations.

sending prayers from south africa.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for posting this :) God bless.

itskripa said...

I accidentally stumbled on your blog when looking up a verse from 1 Corinthians 13 and I am so encouraged by what I found as a result!

Unknown said...

I think you are so right. I like to think of myself as being so smart and often times come back with a witty sarcastic remark I've come to learn that God's grace is all about keeping my mouth shut instead of coming back with a retort that is motivated by defending myself when someone points out a flaw and it's usually accurate when I have decided not to speak I realize it's God's grace that has helped me exercise the ability to stop and wait and listen to what they're saying stead of replying.

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