February 14, 2018
Loving like Jesus
“(Love) does not rejoice at wrongdoing”, 1 Corinthians 13:6
What a wonderful day to think about and express love. Lent, the season for celebrating and meditating on the greatest act of love ever given, coincides with Valentine’s Day. (Elsewhere I have already written about the connections between the two: Ash Wednesday bulletin and February church newsletter.) In this space, I want to focus on how love does not rejoice in wrongdoing.
First, why would anyone rejoice in sin? If it is your own wrongdoing, we should not be happy about violating a command of God, damaging a relationship, or stepping further into a possible addiction in the making. Nothing there to celebrate.
Secondly, we do sometimes take pleasure in the sin of another, because it means we look better to ourselves. Though we are admonished not to gloat over our enemies, we do not mind when they trip themselves up in a public scandal. If they were a business or political competitor, we would consider that an advantage to us.
Yet, the Bible teaches that love does not rejoice in any wrongdoing, because those who love like Jesus loves do not wish any harm in body or reputation on anyone. Had Jesus rejoiced in our wrongdoing, he would have smiled at the prospect of how God would now lower the boom on us. He would not have entered human flesh, suffered the consequences of our sin, and ultimately taken our punishment on the cross. What a disaster that would have been.
This Lent, we can meditate on our failure to love sincerely and our gloating over the failures of others. As Jesus first loved us, let us love one another, even those who do wrong—for that includes you and me, whom Jesus loves.
May we know and show love that does not rejoice in wrongdoing.