“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”1 Corinthians 13:4-8a.
We often hear this verse when we go to weddings. But this verse is not just about love between a married couple. Paul is talking about love in the church; love between the brothers and sisters in Christ. This is the love that should be in the church. This is the love that is in the church of Christ.
When we read this description of love, can we say that this is our life? Am I patient toward that brother that just won’t catch on? Am I kind to the sister that often offends me? Do I envy the ministry of another? Do I boast in what I do? Am I arrogant or rude to those in the church? Do I insist on my way or on God’s way? When I walk in the church is my automatic response one of irritation? Am I holding a grudge or am I quick to forgive? Do I hate evil and wrongdoing in the hearts of my brothers and sisters and hate when wrong is done to them? Do I rejoice when my brothers and sisters love the truth and they walk in the truth? Do I bear, believe, hope and endure all things in my fellow church members? Does my love have an end?
We might be tempted to think, “I don’t love them and I don’t hate them. I’m just…indifferent.” We try to create a third category that we can feel comfortable in. Hate is such a strong word, and love, well, I know I don’t do what 1 Corinthians says, so I’m just in the middle somewhere. Have you tried looking for that middle category in the Bible? Did you find it? You might find the complacent, the lukewarm, the double-minded or some other synonym for indifference all of which are condemned. Indifference is just a form of hatred, but it is hatred none the less.