1 Cor. 13 God is love … Love is not rude
Behind all these short commentaries on the nature of Love are three whispers. First the haunting voice of Paul in the ears of the Corinthian church. He is addressing their particular misbehaviors after all. Second, 2000 years after their author put down his pen, we know their personal application and value. Last and less directly understood is the equivalence of these things to the nature of God. In today’s example, God is love and love is not rude, so God is not rude. And since it is an equivalent formula; God is not rude and God is love, so love is not rude.
When I allow my mind to take this road, I discover clarity of thought and a challenge of imitation. Thus, if God is love and love is not rude then, as a follower of God, I must not be rude.
To profitably live a life that attempts to take God’s path, it is best to try stepping in the footprints He has left. Thanks to Jesus there are traceable imprints in the dust of Palestine.
Love does not behave indecently, in a manner unbecoming of love or disdainful of the hearts of others.
In his classic book, The Purpose Driven Church, Pastor Rick Warren explained that his church was functioning without traditional committees because, in a committee the most rude or mean person sways the vote. People don’t like dealing with harshness or rudeness so many of us will back down in its face. Patrick Lencioni, in another classic book, The Five Disfunction of a Team, says that a functional team has to be a place of differing opinions, where it is safe to disagree.
Committees and work teams are examples of the grocery store lines, classrooms and a thousand other places where we experience the bullying of rudeness. One of the present popular versions we are becoming familiar with is the cancel culture.
I almost always want to confront it. There it is and I don’t know what to do with it. Is it rude to confront the rude or unseemly behavior of a stranger in the grocery store that has cut in front of another person or even several of them? Maybe it depends on my motives. There are times when the most loving thing is to confront the bully. But we have to be careful not to assume that person’s role.
Am I wanting to help, even the person behaving badly? Am I wanting to correct the balance of power? Or am I just angry and frustrated about this and wanting to let this person have a piece of my mind? (We have to be careful with that last one, there are only so many pieces.)
My goal for this series is to examine love as described in the Bible. Every week I find myself digging into the junk drawer of our life practices. Or at least mine. Love is not rude; she takes into consideration the hearts of people with whom she shares the planet. He understands that everyone he sees was made by God and is loved by God.
I think it may be best to use the equational approach at the beginning of this blog. If love is not rude and I want to understand it’s application I might just ask if I can imagine Jesus doing what I’m considering. If I can’t, I should let it go. It’s easier said than done I know, but easy was never the criteria for following Jesus.
Blessings as you seek to live love in our broken world.
Rude: Offensively impolite or ill-mannered.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. 1 Corinthians 13:4-5