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. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a) Do you bear with all things, or do you cast a stone when something doesn't go as you think it should? Do you believe the best, or assume the worst? Where is your hope? Do you endure all things? There are so many Christians nowadays ready to hurl stones at one another. I think this a timely verse we can all stand upon. When the word says that Love bears, believers, hopes and endures all thing, it should rattle us to our core. How often do we see Christians hurling stones at one another, especially in this time when people are seeking to obey God and government all at once. People are quick to throw stones at church leadership for keeping church doors open, and just as quick to throw them when the doors close. In Jesus time, it was considered low to consort with the Romans, to report a fellow Jew as unthinkable. And yet, they were quick to seek to stone Jesus, send him to Pilate, and invoke friendship with Caesar when Jesus didn't conform to their wants. They could not bear Jesus: he was a threat to their power, and prestige. They did not believe Jesus: they could not conform to His teachings of the Kingdom, as they interrupted their traditions. They had no hope in Jesus: He was not the messiah they were looking for, and they could not Endure Jesus: His following was getting to be too large. How often do we turn in Jesus when things do not go our way? How often do we hurl stones instead of understanding? Church, place your name at the beginning of this verse, replace each instance of love with your own name: do you believe it? Does it really sound like you? Then it is time for a heart change. If you read this section of scripture and it does not sound like you, do you really know who Jesus is at all? He was all of these things, and more. Romans 12:9-21 English Standard Version (ESV) Marks of the True Christian 9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit,[a] serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.[b] Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it[c] to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Footnotes: 1. Romans 12:11 Or fervent in the Spirit
2. Romans 12:16 Or give yourselves to humble tasks
3. Romans 12:19 Greek give place