Happy Election Day! I hope I am not the first person to tell you to vote, but please do. It is an incredible honor most do not fully appreciate. Use your voice to speak to the America you want and the turn you want us to take in the new year.
One thing I think we can agree on is that this has not been our finest hour. From a candidate who cannot find a nice word to say about anyone who is a decent human being, to attack ads that are simply bitter, to people walking away from longtime friends and family because of political differences. This election has been defined by battle lines and hatred In the middle of it all we can simply ask – where is the love?
I did not intend to write on this attribute today but sometimes things just work out…
Love does not dishonor others
Others translate this as: love does not behave gracelessly or behave itself unseemly or behave rudely.
Barclay gets right to the point when he says, “There is a kind of Christianity which takes a delight in being blunt and almost brutal. There is strength in it but there is no winsomeness. … There is a graciousness in Christian love which never forgets that courtesy and tact and politeness are lovely things.”
Love is shown in the little actions of our days. It is the ways we treat people either with respect or like they are beneath us. Do we honor those we disagree with or is our political position more important than our relationships?
I cannot love and humiliate you. I cannot love and yet want to see you suffer or be down on your luck or come to ruin. There is no two-faced nature in love. If I want the best for you, then I cannot secretly revel in your mishaps.
This is where love goes from being one on one to a larger heart issue.
Over the summer we saw a lot of graceless, rude, unseemly “Christians” taking to the streets to demand others serve them (in the form of things reopening). They did not care about the person who was going to wait their table or cut their hair, they were simply tired of being inside.
We see it in the election with “one issue Christians” who have boiled religion down to one issue or use faith to justify their racism, bigotry, and fear (the Bible doesn’t justify any of those for the record).
We see it in “people of faith” who care more about an object than the suffering of other people. Who try to use their religion to dominate and oppress other people. Who are so focused on their laws they forget there are people on the other side of their hatred.
As we will see next week, this charge to “not behave rudely” leads into the list of things Paul says love does not do, most of which reflects on our conduct towards others.
To not “dishonor” others comes in the simple way we treat each other. It is whether we attack someone on social media for holding a different view or seek to respond with graciousness while stating our truth (while being open to their point of view too). It is letting a car in on the road, not reacting when you get cut off. It is patience when things run slow (my challenge) and choosing not to get fixated on what I cannot control (the pace of things) and instead being present to what God might have for me in this moment.
It is easy to be crude and impolite, to be careless and unconcerned. We tend to behave undignified towards others when we forget our mandate to love others as ourselves.
Love does not seek to put others down, or belittle their existence, or make them less-human so we feel better.
Love is gracious. Love is becoming. Love is polite and respectful.
Love seeks to honor others. It behaves politely. Love is courteous.
In the coming months we will see plenty of rude and graceless sides to people of faith. We will be met with fire and fury from people we thought we knew. It would be easy to respond in kind or walk away. But what if we all worked for more courtesy, tact, and politeness and less of our own way, anger, and hatred?
“Where there is love, there will be kindness and good manners.” David Guzik.
Let it be with us friends. Until next time.