Today we begin our series on LOVE, and in a moment I have a light-hearted story to share.
But first, speaking of love, I wanted to take a minute to thank you for your loving support after Lynn's announcement this week. This community is pure joy to me and I look forward to us having more good times together. I hope you know you can reach out to any of us on the team, any time.
I'm also delighted for Lynn that she can work on some new projects after all she has poured into us. I say thank you to her. She's not leaving us, but is simply branching out a little wider. So, we cheer her on and onwards we march!
Now for today's thought:
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal." 1 Corinthians 13:1 (NKJV)
Now, many of us have had practice at 'winning without words' in our home. So we're not usually clanging cymbals. But there was one time where maybe I was, just a bit.
One Saturday morning, shortly after I'd had my 'turning-to-Jesus-life-changing-moment', my husband and I were tucking into a lovely cooked breakfast. In those days I just couldn't help but bring up faith. And so I brought it up, and heartily began to tell him about the changes wrought in me by God. I began to list traits like ‘less anxious’, ‘more at peace’, and so on, which was fine. But somewhere among that, perhaps I mentioned that I was a little bit more humble these days. A little more kind, perhaps. I’m laughing.
“Mm.” he nodded, smiling and rolling his eyes. Here we go again. Then he let out a cough and quietly said into his hand, “Congratulating yourself.”
He was chuckling; but I stopped instantly. Of course I didn't laugh; it was all super sensitive for me. But afterwards, in a quiet moment to myself I did manage a smile. "Point taken," I thought, "Maybe I was congratulating myself a little."
What is it like for others to be on the receiving end of my faith? That is a question I ask often. Because honestly, I’ve sometimes been on the receiving end of another person's beliefs and there's been something cold or unloving about it. It's a lesson.
A clashing cymbal is a hard sound that can’t be listened to for long. I'm not saying I was being the full clashing cymbal that day; I think we learn not to be this way in our marriage. But it is a reminder that if a Christian is self-righteous that’s the sound that hurts our ears and makes us not want to partake of their table. On the other hand, other Christians are like a lapping ocean, a gentler experience. On reflection, I think the ones like that are those who have meditated on the character of Jesus and who focus on Jesus's righteousness more than their own.
I imagine the sound of love to be something like a bird singing, an orchestra playing, a mysterious wind, or a beautiful cello. It is a sound, for sure; it's not quiet. But even if it is a voice speaking unpopular truth, it won't have the self-righteous edge of a metallic, hard cymbal.
On Wednesday, Ian gave a wonderful analogy of Billy Graham, who said that he wanted people to see nothing but the cross of Jesus when they looked at him. That was exactly what was in my head as I thought about this post and my husband's little chuckle at my being 'self-congratulatory'. I suppose in our conversations with others, it can be a great thing when our verbal testimonies do this:
- Point to the healing power of Jesus
- Point to the cross of Jesus, and our need for it
- Point to Jesus as a source of life and abundance
- Point to Jesus as a real presence
Hmm, I may well practice this a little more. Next time I'm at breakfast with my husband, perhaps?
Nice chatting, friends, and here's a prayer for us today:
Lord guard my tongue, make my voice a sweet sound to others, and let every word that comes out of my mouth honor You. Season my tongue with mercy, justice and humility. Let me always be an ambassador for Love. In your name, Jesus. Amen.
Have you experienced someone who was the opposite of a clashing cymbal? What did that look like?