What is your first response to the sins that are committed by other people? Wait a minute, should I clarify? Let’s say that someone who doesn’t like you or who has hurt you in some way does something to stain their character. Maybe they do something that is obviously not morally right. What is the first thing that goes through your mind? OK let’s go again. This time let’s say your sweet grandmother was to sin? (Yes, grandmothers sin, too). Let’s say she does something that is obviously not becoming a person who claims to be a Christian. Now, what’s your first response?
Should the identity of the person matter to us when people sin? Should it determine how we view sin, or how we view others? And what if something bad happens to people who are not good to us? What if tragedy comes to those who have made it their aim to be a thorn in our side? Do we celebrate? Do we silently cheer when bad things happen to people who have persecuted us?
When it comes to choices people make, there is something love will never do. When people do wrong, love will never be glad they did it. Love will never allow a person to think negatively of another person for their deeds, because love sees human weakness. Love sees the sins of one’s own self. Love hurts for people, even when they make poor choices. Love understands that we have all been there and done that. And love doesn’t choose grandma’s sin as acceptable over the sin of one who might be commonly considered an immoral person. Love shows no partiality to people based on their behavior. It sees every person equally. It commits a compassionate spirit with regard to how it chooses to view others.
When it comes to the things that happen to people, there is something else love will never do. When people suffer, love will never rejoice in their suffering. No matter how we have been treated, if we have the love of Christ, we will not rejoice when the persecutor gets rewarded with a terrible day. There is no true joy or peace or comfort in watching even wicked people suffer. God himself has no pleasure in the death of the wicked. He desires that they turn from their evil ways. In essence, it could be argued that Jesus was sacrificed according to the will of God for the most intensely immoral and wicked people. Even though God is just, he wants to be merciful. Because He is love – his first inclination is to always extend grace and forgive.
So the next time you see someone do something that you believe is morally wrong – don’t let the first response in your heart tell you that they are a bad person. Because love sees that they are a human person who is struggling. And they are someone who needs prayers of compassion and forgiveness.
And the next time you see something bad happen to someone who has chosen to be your enemy – don’t let your first response be to say, “they had it coming.” Because love never rejoices when tragedy strikes the life of any fellow human being. We are all made in the image of God. And we should desire blessings even for those who choose not to wish blessings upon us.
These things are not always easy. But there are certain things love just does. And there are some things love will never do.
“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” – 1 Corinthians 13:6
AUTHOR: Jeremiah Tatum