Grown kids crowded the island as we sliced and diced a Father’s Day feast fit for a king. Counterspace disappeared under cutting boards. Oil crackled its invitation to breaded shrimp. And with one comment, conflict over politics turned organized chaos into an emotional war zone. Raised voices hurled accusations and insults, and right before my eyes, my family became divided.
Words I posted days before played out before my eyes (see “Can Shed Blood Bring Peace?”). Speaking of the many ways we are at odds in America, I said:
This really isn’t about all the battles—races and religions, politics and elections, money, power, control, climate, and on and on. It’s about a single war between…
the kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness. (Side note: There will never be unity between kingdoms, but let there not be division in the kingdom of God.)
I would add, let there not be division in families who are of the kingdom of God. Yet, there we were, fighting, stereotyping, and reading each other’s minds and hearts as if we were God Himself.
Tempers fizzled by the time we gathered around the table. Disagreements weren’t necessarily resolved, but they were set aside for Dad’s sake, and we enjoyed the rest of the day as a family.
If you’re a mom, maybe you can relate when I say that the day’s events stuck with me long after they appeared to be forgotten by others. I’m a conflict-avoider anyway, and it bothers me when family members attack each other for feeling or thinking differently. It’s not that we argued. It’s that we didn’t communicate with love or in love, even if what was said was “right.”
That evening, the Lord brought 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 to mind:
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
We can have gifts galore, unusual insight and understanding, a master’s knowledge of God’s word and mysteries, faith to move mountains, and self-sacrificing good works, but if we do not have love, there’s no profit in any of it. What we say is just noise.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a NKJV).
This paints a totally different picture.
Here’s the thing. Love matters. It matters in our homes. It matters in our neighborhoods. It matters in our churches. It matters among the churches. It matters in our nation.
1 Peter 4:8 instructs us, “And above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins.’” Much the same, Proverbs 10:12 says, “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins.”
Jesus Himself says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this, all will know that you are My disciples if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35).
We aren’t known as disciples of Jesus because of our gifts, knowledge, understanding, works, faith, church attendance, Bible reading, Christian radio station, political affiliations, and so on. We are known by our love for one another.
Are we known by our love?
This may get wordy, but it’s on purpose. I want you to slowly read and consider each question.
Are we known for our longsuffering?
Are we known for our kindness?
Are we known for our contentment?
Are we known for celebrating with others?
Are we known for our humility?
Are we known for our consideration, including the way we say what we say?
Are we known as difficult to provoke?
Are we known for thinking good?
Are we known for caring?
Are we known for rejoicing in the truth?
Are we known for bearing all things?
Are we known to believe, hope, and endure all things?
Are we known for love that never fails?
Jesus’ love never fails us.
Are we known to love like Him?
My tongue unleashed some sharp words that day in our kitchen, so I am the first who needs to admit there are times when my answer is no. If that’s true for you, too, let’s ask God for help. Let’s ask Him to show us what occupies our hearts instead of His love for others. Let’s be willing to humble ourselves before Him to see what’s hard to see, confess what’s hard to admit, repent and turn from what’s hard to give up, and entirely surrender to Jesus, so we can love like He loves.
Much love and many blessings,
Women are drawn to Shauna’s teaching and Bible studies because of her in-depth yet conversational and practical approach to scripture’s truths as they apply to the nitty-gritty of daily life. The more she studies the Bible, the greater her grasp of God’s grace and love and the deeper her passion to see others experience the power and freedom of surrendering entirely to Him. She is a wife, mother and working woman who gladly and transparently connects with women wherever they are by sharing the good, bad and challenging of her life story, past, and present. Learn more at www.shaunawallace.com.
What are you waiting for?
Go ahead and choose the menu plan that’s right for you!