For a while now I have felt the Holy Spirit's conviction in my life that I am not loving others. Sure we can say that we love others, but is it really fair or just for us to make such a comment, as we are selfish and self-centered by nature. We might think that we are thinking of others above oneself, but who better to evaluate this in your life, than those that should be the recipients. One day a couple of weeks ago, my wife and I had a disagreement. Maybe that is a little too politically correct, as it was a pretty heated argument. The next day Amy asked me to read I Corinthians 13, and when I did I felt something inside me click.
"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 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. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. I Corinthians 13 (ESV)
In some way, I feel like I am surrounded by Cynics. I was raised around them, went to church with a group of them, and talk to them daily in my adult years. When I looked up the definition of "Cynic" in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, it said: "A faultfinding captious critic; especially: one who believes that human conduct is motivated wholly by self-interest." Well in many ways, I couldn't agree more that this describes mankind. The scriptures pretty much tell us such:
"And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man's heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done." Genesis 8: 21 (ESV)
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23 (ESV)
"Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned." Romans 5:12 (ESV)
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." I John 1:9 (ESV)
So we can see that apart from Jesus Christ, we are inherently evil and all of us are sinners. A couple of months ago I had the opportunity to go visit the Reagan National Library out in Simi Valley, CA. It was one of the most incredible sites that I have visited. I hold a lot of respect for President Reagan. However, I was a little disappointed to see the epitaph on his gravesite: "I know in my heart that man is good. That what is right will always eventually triumph. And there's purpose and worth to each and every life." I know that the Bible teaches us otherwise. However, it really got me thinking.
Reagan might have been on to something. 1) I know that scripture teaches that without our lives surrendered to Jesus, that we are not good. 2) I do believe that God will prevail over evil in the end. 3) God does want purpose for our lives, and does give a high worth to every life. However, we also know that Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
This means that I have immense Hope through Christ, if I am a true follower of His. Now getting back to the definition of Cynic, I agree with the definition in that mankind is wholly devoted by self-interest. So therefore, would it not be a fair assumption to deduce that before oneself becomes a Follower of Christ, he is therefore inately a Cynic. However, once a person becomes a Follower of The Way, that one should abandon his old ways of cynicism and portray the Love that Christ showed us not only on the cross, but during his life and ministry while on this earth.
So in conclusion, I am asking God to remove Cynicism from my life. As that I Corinthains 13 passage says, if I speak in tongues of angels, have all faith and understanding, but yet have not Love, I am nothing. I want to be something for the Kingdom of God. I think that it is about time that I show the Love of God in my life towards others, instead of being critical and judgemental. Please don't misunderstand that this does not mean that we are not to share the Truth of God with people, even if it hurts. It does not mean that we compromise in any way. It also does not mean that we abandon any theological roots in our progressive sanctifcation that occurs daily in our lives. It does mean that I will be obeying the following verse:
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:36-40 (ESV)
So in conclusion, although theologically I disagree with Pesident Reagan's epitaph, I want to start looking for the good in people, rather than tearing them apart judgementally. I want to start living my life as Christ commanded, rather than to be so cynical and pessimistic that I am critical. I have started praying a simple prayer that I also encourage you to pray: "Lord break my heart for what breaks Yours!" If you do not know my savior Jesus Christ of which I have been talking about in this writing, then please leave a comment for me. I will be glad to pray that the Holy Spirits convicting power come upon you and convict you of your sins. I LOVE YOU!!!