As we come to the close of this series, we are challenged yet again in the continuation of the “Love Test.” Isn’t it amazing just how much this thing called love has to do with our spiritual maturity? Tina Turner asked the Question “What’s Love Got to Do with it?” Well actually everything! As we look at the next two verses in the Love Chapter (1Cor. 13) I believe we will realize that the Love Test may just have some of all of the tests combined…..In other words this could be compared with the final exam.
In the King James Version, 1 Cor. 13 verse seven says that agape love (God’s love in and through us) does not rejoice in iniquity. From the Greek, this phrase could more accurately translate; it does not celebrate or gloat because of other’s sins or failures, (moral or otherwise) or injustices done to others.
Have you ever gloated in someone else’s failure or sin? Paul is talking about the business owner who secretly rejoices in the tax evasion indictment of a competitor down the road. He’s talking about the Republican who revels in the public moral failure of a Democrat – and vice versa. He’s talking about the prognosticator who basks in his prediction of a couple’s divorce coming true. He’s talking about the brother who secretly celebrates when his big sister gets caught in a lie by their parents. He’s talking about the pious Christian who gossips about another Christian under the guise of a prayer request.
Honestly? We have a natural proclivity for enjoying those things the Bible would define as unrighteousness and sinful – violence and war, crime, sexual immorality, political corruption, salacious news and gossip, and Hollywood scandals. Why do you think grocery stores across America put magazines like US Weekly, The National Enquirer, People, and Star in their checkout lines? Why do you think major news networks like FOX News, CNN, NBC, ABC, and CBS spend the vast majority of their time and energy reporting negative stories – stories of unrighteousness, sin, crime, greed, and corruption? The answer is simple and sobering. People, including Christians, have a natural disposition to enjoy other people’s failures, problems, faux pas’, and sins.
Often times we read of a person be caught for a crime and we rejoice that they have been exposed and caught. We do not think to pray for them, their family and those who have been hurt by their actions. Could this be because we are agape-God love deficient?
Why is it that we enjoy other people’s failures, problems, and sins so much? First of all, we have become so anaesthetized by media that we actually find sin entertaining. I know that stings for those of us who profess to be Christians, but it’s true. Sin no longer offends us like it should. Sin doesn’t disturb us anymore. Before we know it, we’re laughing at and enjoying things that at the very same moment grieve the heart of God.
Second, ashamedly, other people’s sins/mistakes make us feel better about ourselves. It’s true! If we were honest with each other, we would admit that there’s something secretly satisfying when another person fails.
Lastly, and most significantly, we’ve forgotten the holy yet gracious character of God. When we rejoice and bask in another person’s sin and failure, we are delighting in the very thing that offends and grieves God. God is holy. God is righteous. God is sinless. God is love. When we secretly or publicly rejoice in another person’s failure and sin, we are proving our lack of love for God.
So what is the solution? Paul gives us the answer “love rejoices in the truth.” In other words rejoice in what God rejoices in! Truth is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and its application in our life……or the Gospel. Truth is, there is only ONE Lord, One Faith, and One Baptism…..truth is the Word of God.
May we all come to know the love of Christ, and may we share that love with everyone we meet.