Love or wisdom?

September 9, 2014 § 1 Comment

June 22, 2014

Love or wisdom- which comes first?

God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight
Philippians 1:8-9

During orientation, we were presented with this question and verse (which initially seemed like another pointless chicken and egg scenario). However, as we spent more time immersed in this verse as a team, we came upon the realization that the verse clearly states that we should love first, and if anything that we gain depth as an extension of that love. Maybe this is a trivial fact to dwell on, but this realization really hit me because it has severe implications on building relationships with people, especially those that are suffering.

In a generation of suffering, how much do we have to know about others’ suffering before we are able to love them? Backtracking to my preparation for the trip, there wasn’t a moment where I wasn’t asking questions to somehow prepare myself for the unknown we were entering into, as if that would make the experience easier or somehow help me “do a better job”. My questions, at their root, were also stemming from a place of selfishness. I needed to know how “bad” the conditions would be, what my host would be like, how hard it would be to learn Thai- basically filler words for the bottom-line question of how much of my comfort was I putting on the line. Ultimately, in my desire to be prepared, I was inherently trying to opt out of my host’s suffering.

We need to understand the gravity of the statement that Paul makes when he states that he longs for people “with the affection of Christ Jesus.” This kind of affection is like nothing we humanly know- it’s an intense, deep yearning. Most of all it’s impartial and freely extended to all. I can’t humanly imagine a love that imprisonment and persecution could not phase. The problem is that we often put people’s suffering on an arbitrary scale so we can have a better handle on experiences we can’t fully grasp. Our society champions the phrase “it could be worse” to opt out of sharing each other’s burdens, or it sets up (what I call) the suffering scale in order to define the “most tragic” suffering as the only kind worth supporting and hearing out. In this way, we partake in marginalizing the already marginalized. We need Jesus to teach us how to love people.

We love because He first loved
1 John 4:19

The fact that we are all partakers of grace  may be the only commonality I have with everyone I meet here on out- that fact needs to be enough. In a little less than a week I will be moving in with a host who knows absolutely nothing about me, except that I have agreed to spend six weeks in Thailand serving him/ her. This simple faith blows my mind and shows me that God has a lot of work to do in this heart of mine.

May we be people that love first, and gain insight from an initial place of love.

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