"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, 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." I Corinthians 13:4
The Bible teaches us that God is love. "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might have life through Him." I John 4:8-9
God shows His love through us by our faithfulness in sharing and declaring the forgiveness that is available to us all through Jesus Christ. The true act of love is being able to treat someone with respect and kindness even though they know you do not approve of their lifestyle. It is not appropriate to allow someone to remain stuck in their sin, or hateful to point that sin out. What we can't do is to condemn someone eternally should they choose to ignore us...only God has that privilege.
So how do we love the sinner? I Corinthians 13:4-7 has the answer:
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud." (verse 4) A soft-spoken, thoughtful and kind approach to pointing out someone's sin is appropriate. Sharing our own experiences with sin and focusing on what God has done in our own lives prevents us from "boasting in our abilities" and being "prideful" in overcoming sin. All overcoming should be credited to Christ!
"It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs." (verse 5) We don't have to be rude in our approach or become angry when people attempt to criticize or belittle us when we speak to them.
"Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth." (verse 6) We have a responsibility to overcome evil with the truth of God's Word. Sharing the scriptures effectively may not change a person's behavior immediately, but it will plant the seeds necessary for the next person tasked with sharing the gospel.
"It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." (verse 7) No matter what, God is with us, every step of the way. It is His love that will always protect us, one we can trust in, one we can always hope for and always count on to persevere in our lives as we share the gospel and obey Him.
How do we hate the sin? We hate the sin by not condoning or excusing it. It's very important that we don't send out mixed messages!
Posted on Tue, November 15, 2011
by Cliff Ellison