Without Love

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,[a] but have not love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13)
These are powerful, powerful words. Oft quoted, no doubt you’ve heard them before. But I ask you to go back and slowly reread them. Really take in what Paul is saying here. And I dare ask you, how are we doing as the Church in offering this type of love? We might speak eloquent words from the podium. But are we loving the broken people filling the pews? Or the broken people filling our schools and workplaces. We may have a personal faith that is real. But is it active? Does it help us reach the hurt, the lost? We may be ready to be burned at the stake for our God. But are we ready to get our hands dirty for the sinning, damaged person placed in our path?
Every single time I hear Jesus, Friend of Sinners by Casting Crowns, my heart hurts. Conviction pours over me, hot coals over the head. I’ve got it so wrong so often. Am I only telling or showing people what I am against? Do I ever tell them I’m for them, that Christ is for them? Do I stop and love them in their mess (as I need to be loved in my own filth?)
My biggest sermon should not be spoken words…written ones either. It should be my very life. There is no room for compromising here. I know His truth, and I must live it. And living it for Him means loving with abandon.
Lord – that you would muzzle my fiery tongue. Make my mouth silent. And make my very life speak.
Jesus, friend of sinners, we have strayed so far away
We cut down people in your name but the sword was never ours to swing
Jesus, friend of sinners, the truth’s become so hard to see
The world is on their way to You but they’re tripping over me
Always looking around but never looking up I’m so double minded
A plank eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks yours Jesus, friend of sinners, the one who’s writing in the sand
Made the righteous turn away and the stones fall from their hands
Help us to remember we are all the least of these
Let the memory of Your mercy bring Your people to their knees
Nobody knows what we’re for only what we’re against when we judge the wounded
What if we put down our signs crossed over the lines and loved like You did

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks yours

You love every lost cause; you reach for the outcast
For the leper and the lame; they’re the reason that You came
Lord I was that lost cause and I was the outcast
But you died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet



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