In 1 Corinthians 16:14, Paul writes these words: "Do everything in love."
This is a verse I often miss because I'm not reading the chapter very carefully. It falls in the midst of Paul's personal greetings to the church in Corinth. It is a lot of names that I usually just skim, but I'm discovering that there are a lot of truths contained in these sections of Paul's letters - like 1 Corinthians 16:14.
Do everything in love.
This is how we should do all that we do. But, in reality, is it? Do we actually do everything in love?
In all honesty, I think followers of Christ today do a poor job and living this way. We'll give money and send other people overseas to love people. We'll agree with messages or books that tell us we need to love people. We'll read Scripture, which tells us that the greatest commandment is to love God and to love our neighbour as our self. We'll even talk about our need to do everything we do in love. But, we don't really do it! We talk about it, read about it, agree with it . . . but we don't often live it!
I think of the song They'll Know We are Christians by Our Love and seriously wonder if we can sing that. Does the world know we are Christians by our love? Especially in the West, we're known more for what we're against than for our love. If you ask the average person on the street what they think of when they think of Christians, I don't think our love will fall very highly on their list if it rates a mention at all. Yet, our love precisely what we should be known for! If we actually do everything in love, then that is what we would be known for. But sadly, we don't do everything in love.
We can still oppose things that happen in our world, but we must do it with love for the people affected by it. And it must go beyond just voicing our disagreement with what is going on. When we oppose things in our world, one of the ways we do it in love is providing an alternative and making that alternative happening. This gives us credibility as people who do care about others. We don't just say that something like abortion is wrong; we get involved in providing a place for the mothers and children to get the help they need rather than the child being aborted. Doing everything in love requires action on our part.
I believe that if we really began to take Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 16:14 seriously, our world would begin to change. If we truly did everything in love, we would be beginning to live the Kingdom of God out in this world. We would begin to change our world! But this change won't happen until we begin to consistently do everything in love. And it will take time. They way our world views us won't change overnight, but it will change over time if we begin to live in such a way that we do everything in love.