Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Friday, March 27, 2015
Based Upon 1 Corinthians 13
Love is the greatest gift God has given. It is no mere flight of feeling. Love is no mere sentiment. Love is no mere expression. The Bible says that God is love. Therefore, all that is loving and lovely must be sanctioned and characterized by that which is godly. Love is such a high and holy principle that “…God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:16–17).
With God’s example of love in mind, Paul wrote, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:1–3, ESV).
The answer to the world’s woes is love—heavenly love. And, no matter how talented or gifted we are, if we do not embrace and exemplify the love of God, we are wasting our time. If we do not embrace and exemplify the love of God, even our very best sacrifices and biggest accomplishments are noisy distractions.
For today’s devotional, I’d like for us to have a closer look at the following excerpts:
“… thinketh no evil;” (1 Corinthians 13:5)
“…It does not keep a record of wrongs,” (1 Corinthians 13:5, LEB)
“Thinketh no evil. Literally, “does not reckon the evil.” The Greek here conveys the idea of not taking into account the wrong that has been done; not reckoning, imputing, or charging the wrong to any man’s account. This is another beautiful, Christlike attribute of love. It shows that love puts the best possible construction on the behavior of others.” ¹
I remember the time many years ago when a craze hit the Christian world as we sought to be aligned with Christ—What Would Jesus Do (WWJD)? People wore WWJD bracelets, headbands, and clothing to direct focus to Jesus’ approach to life. In consideration of our text, I ask, what did Jesus do?
You may recall the scene: Jesus, having been shuttled about from mock trial-to-mock trial, was badly beaten, bruised, disrespected, maligned, spat upon, hanged on the cross, stabbed, and unloved. And as He accepted His mission to become sin for us, so we could be saved, feeling the excruciating separation from His Father, Divine Love said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots” (Luke 23:34).
I am arrested by the thought, even as I type, that He would endure all that He did at the hands of cruel human beings He came only to love, and for whom He would continue to advocate forgiveness. But, I guess that was the point of His mission. His purpose for condescending to humanity, was to reveal the Father’s love, live a submitted life among us, and purchase our pardon with His life. He did just that to the very bitter end. Thank God!
Knowing this now gives context to our text of consideration. The One who has a faithful record of all wrongs ever committed in our flesh and in our minds, has modeled what it is to expunge the record. We do not have the time or space in this particular lesson to expound His method of forgiveness and cleansing, but the bottom line is that His will is to keep no record of wrong when we cooperate with Him. As such, when His disciple questioned Him regarding the number of times we should forgive our brothers and sisters, whether it should be seven times, “Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:22). Here is an interesting quote: “But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matt. 6:15. Nothing can justify an unforgiving spirit. He who is unmerciful toward others shows that he himself is not a partaker of God’s pardoning grace. In God’s forgiveness the heart of the erring one is drawn close to the great heart of Infinite Love. The tide of divine compassion flows into the sinner’s soul, and from him to the souls of others. The tenderness and mercy that Christ has revealed in His own precious life will be seen in those who become sharers of His grace.” ²
Love, godly love, seeks not to give a strict account of one another’s sins. Rather, it searches feverishly for opportunities to forgive, no matter the circumstances. Is this easy? Well, for whom? Every high and holy principle to be enacted in our lives can only be accomplished in the strength of the One who created the worlds. If God can create the worlds with the spirit of His mouth, He can certainly instill a forgiving spirit in those who will submit to Him.
¹ Nichol, F. D. (Ed.). (1980). The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary (Vol. 6, p. 782). Review and Herald Publishing Association.
² White, E. G. (1900). Christ’s Object Lessons (p. 251). Review and Herald Publishing Association.