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‘If I Do Not Have Love’

 

As Summer is upon us, and political elections and theological debates are heating up with the temperatures, I have observed that the one key ingredient that is missing from our conversations and debates is this crazy little thing called LOVE. I am greatly troubled by the lack of love and compassion among many Christians that believe the Bible and fight for the truth.

People within and outside the United Methodist Church are willing to do just about anything in order to establish their position, even if it means the harm and detriment to their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

This is certainly still true when it comes to the issue of human sexuality (and specifically LGBTQ+ persons) and how we as individual Christians and as committed and traditional congregations ought to respond to societal changes.

I am reminded of the sobering words of the Apostle Paul from his first letter to the Corinthians in what is commonly known as the “Love Chapter”.

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.

If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. (1 Corinthians 13.1-3, New Living Translation)

 

Likewise, Paul gives us valuable advice on having fruitful conversations with each other, especially when we don’t see eye to eye: Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. (Colossians 4.5-6)

 

We will undoubtedly have difficult conversations about faith matters in the months and years to come. Human sexuality is just one of the ‘hot topics’ we currently need to wrestle with. But can you and I commit ourselves to having conversations about difficult issues and topics in the spirit of Christian love, and with our words being gracious, seasoned with the salt of love for one another?

 

Quite frankly, nothing else will do. May we always remember that God is bigger than anything that may separate and divide us, for [these] light momentary affliction[s] [are] preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4.17-18)

 

Privileged to walk on this road together with you,

 

Pastor Daniel Hofmann

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