Love keeps no record of wrongs

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

In my day job, working as a teacher, the end of term is always a busy time. At the end of the summer term I found myself writing 150 end of year reports for my pupils. This was a particularly arduous task this year since my school has recently moved to a new management information system. This complex computer programme keeps details of all of our pupils, including records of all their good and bad behaviour.

As Christians we are fortunate to have a loving father in heaven who, unlike my school, does not keep a record of every time we do something wrong. Although we all sin many times every day, we can be confident that God has not only forgiven us, but that he wipes our slate clean every time. Since Jesus took all of our sin on himself on the cross and settled our debt with God, we are seen to be pure and blameless in his eyes.

If we are to live out one of the greatest commandments, to love our neighbour as ourselves, we should learn from the example God gives us. Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians, describes some of the characteristics of love. One of these is that love keeps no record of wrongs.

If we love our neighbour, we must accept that there will be times when they wrong us. Once we have suitably dealt with their wrongdoing, we must wipe their slate clean too; we must forget that they have ever wronged us and move forward in loving friendship. If we do not, our relationship with our neighbours will deteriorate and we will find ourselves burning up inside with anger. We must forgive and forget and not allow any actions they take to leave a permanent scar on our heart. This is by no means easy, but it is what we are required to do as Christians. It is an important part of loving our neighbours.

I pray today that we will not allow our hearts to be scarred by the actions or words of others. I pray that God will help us to forgive and forget, just as he has done with us.

As featured on Premier Christian Radio’s ‘Inspirational Breakfast’.

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Love does not dishonour others

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Image source: joebehr @flickr

Image source: joebehr @flickr

I found myself perusing the newspapers and magazines at my local supermarket recently. I’m always amazed when I check the front pages of some magazines. They seem to be obsessed with the state of celebrities’ marriages and the size of women’s waists.

The reason that magazines publish this kind of material though is that we, their potential readers, have a great interest in celebrity gossip. Of course, it’s not just celebrity gossip. When I go to work, my colleagues are always keen to share the latest rumour surrounding someone we work with.

Quite often, there is little basis of truth behind these stories. They’re often based on an overheard whisper, or a comment taken out of context. They’re not out and out lies, but such stories could best be described as half truths.

It can be very easy to become a conduit for gossip. If we hear something potentially interesting about someone else, we can be quick to pass it on.

As Christians we have a responsibility to rise above rumour and gossip. Jesus tells us that one of the most important commandments is to love our neighbour as ourselves. The apostle Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians, helpfully tells us some of the characteristics of love. One is that love does not dishonour others.

If we discuss the lives of others, without knowing the full truth behind any story, that is precisely what we are doing; we are dishonouring them. What is more, if we pass on a story that we know know to be untrue, we are guilty of slander. Jesus himself described slander as ‘evil’ and said it ‘defiles a person’.

Let’s resolve this morning to steer clear of gossip and rumour. Let’s be sure that we do not dishonour another person with our words. And let’s ensure that we do not defile ourselves by slandering others. Instead, let’s aim to bring glory and honour to Christ with every word we speak.

As featured on Premier Christian Radio’s ‘Inspirational Breakfast’.

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Love does not envy

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

My son, Daniel

My son, Daniel

My wife, Claire, and I recently welcomed our first child into the world. Daniel is a smiling, happy little boy who seems to bring joy everywhere he goes.

Prior to his birth, Claire and I enrolled on an NCT course. We found the course very helpful, not least because we met a group of good people who have become friends.

A few weeks ago we found ourselves at a barbecue at one of our NCT friend’s houses. I have to say, I was rather envious of their home. Whilst we live in a small flat, they have a large, detached house with a substantial garden.

I’m sure I’m not alone in envying what other people have from time to time. I’m sure that at some point you will have found yourself envying your friend’s home, or their car, or their summer holiday.

If we are to live by Jesus’ teaching to love our neighbours as ourselves, however, we should aim to steer clear of envy. In chapter thirteen of his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul tells us that love does not envy. If we find ourselves envying others, then, we are lacking in love for them.

Envy is like jealousy. It suggests that we are not happy with our own lives and the blessings that we have received from our heavenly father. It indicates a wrong attitude, suggesting that we are focused on acquiring ‘stuff’.

Rather than envying others, we should be glad for what we have, be grateful to God for his provision, and pleased for the success of others. We should give thanks that ultimately our treasure is heaven, secured for us by Jesus’ death on the cross and his resurrection three days later.

I pray today that our attitude towards all those we encounter will be one of love, and that any envy we feel towards others will be eradicated by the Holy Spirit.

As featured on Premier Christian Radio’s ‘Inspirational Breakfast’.

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Love is Kind

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13: 4-7
School Rules: Source http://www2.needham.k12.ma.us/eliot/technology/lessons/History_Needham/schoolhouse/photo/beach_06/beach_06.htmLife is full of rules. Stick to the speed limit, return your library books on time, put the loo seat down after you’ve finished.

As a teacher rules are a significant part of my life. As Head of Year 7 it is my job to ensure that rules are enforced. Thankfully in my school we don’t have hundreds of rules. We have one main rule, and that is simply Be Kind.

I think that’s a pretty good rule. I think that the apostle Paul would agree. In 1 Corinthians chapter 13 he tells us that ‘love is kind’. If we strive as Christians to love our neighbour, as Jesus commands his followers to do, one of the simplest ways of doing so is simply to follow my school’s most important rule, to ‘Be Kind’.

It sounds simple enough. Yet if we are to Be Kind to everyone whom we encounter, it can require a bit of effort. It’s easy to Be Kind to those whom we like, but what about our irritating neighbours, the person at work who routinely mocks us because of our beliefs, or the person at church who bores us over coffee after the service every single week? Being kind to people that we don’t really like can be a challenge.

Jesus is the ultimate example of kind living. For him, being kind was not just a thought or an attitude, but an action that defined who he was. He demonstrated kindness to all those whom he encountered through his compassion. Even as hung on the cross, dying for you and for me, he demonstrated kindness to those who crucified him by praying for their forgiveness.

Let us strive today to be kind to all those whom we encounter, displaying Christ’s compassion even to those we dislike.

As featured on Premier Christian Radio’s ‘Inspirational Breakfast’.

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Love is Patient

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Image courtesy of streamishmc @flickr.Do you have a favourite day of the week? If you do, I’d guess that Mondays wouldn’t be your top choice. For most, Monday is the beginning of another hard week at work. But the beginning of the week presents us with the opportunity for a fresh start, a chance to put away our failings of last week and to resolve to do better this week.

As we begin this week, why not reflect on Jesus’ words in Mark’s gospel, chapter twelve, when he states that one of the greatest commandments is to love your neighbour as yourself.

Have you stopped to wonder what it means to love your neighbour? In chapter thirteen of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians he describes the characteristics of love. The first is that love is patient.

In the whirl of twenty-first century life patience is often in short supply. When our train arrives late, or our computer won’t start, or a colleague is late for a meeting, we can be quick to anger and hatred may build up within us. When things don’t go smoothly we can sometimes feel anger and frustration bubbling up within us, just waiting to explode.

This is not the way that we are called to be. Patience is a characteristic of love which should not just be evident to those around us, but should flow out of us towards all whom we encounter. According to Psalm 145, ‘The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love’. We should aspire to emulate this.

I pray that we might be full of patience today and in the week ahead.

As featured on Premier Christian Radio’s ‘Inspirational Breakfast’.

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