If I speak in the tonguesof men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
The word “love” is found over 300 times in the King James Bible. And if we were to study each mention, we’d probably find quite a lot of different uses of that word. In our lives we use “love” in reference to friends, food, hobbies, God, spouses and more. Each having a different meaning.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
The current great lie about love is the statement “love is love.” It’s use in this phrase is to convince us that all worldly love is good. But as anyone who has taken a hard look at the idols we place in our lives we know that isn’t true. We, as Christians, also know that deep, interpersonal love like the love between spouses, is reserved for specific relationships. Love, as God has gifted us, is not just a feeling or a yearning. It’s to be a mirror of the love God shows us.
God asks us to show love for our neighbors through kindness. He asks us to show love to sinners with forgiveness and compassion. He gives us families to express deep connections. And He reserves a special love between a man and a woman.
Love is one of the many gifts from God that cannot be fully explained. It’s not just our brain firing off electrical impulses when we see an attractive person. If that were the case it wouldn’t explain loving people who hate us. I thank God for this big, mysterious gift of love. And I thank Him for how much He loves us. His love is so unexplainable yet simple. We don’t deserve it and He will never take it away.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13
Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God.3 John 11
When I was first researching the word “resolute” I came across the tiny village of Resolute in the province of Nunavut, Canada. Back in 1999, Canada created a new province from the original Northern Territories specifically for its native citizens. And Resolute was one of the northernmost inhabited spots in that province. Its most famous resident, who put Resolute firmly on the map, was Joseph Idlout, the subject of two documentaries, Land of the Long Day in 1952 and Between Two Worlds in 1990. He was for a time one of the most well-known Inuit and was shown on the back of the Canadian two-dollar bill.
I decided to watch the Land of the Long Day and was treated to some childhood memories of old fashioned documentary film styles. This little film about a tiny family eking out an existence in the Arctic held my fascination for over an hour. You see, Mr. Idlout purposefully chose to keep his family close to the old ways of living. They hunted and gathered what was available each season, storing up for long, dark winters. They used every available resource to keep their family alive and thriving. Everyone in the family had a job to do for their survival. And to maintain this way of life he petitioned the Canadian government to move to a tiny weather station called Resolute and create a home for themselves. Rather than uprooting their lives and becoming more “modern” they chose to remain true to their culture. And they flourished.
It’s perfect that this “most famous Inuit” moved to a tiny town called Resolute because that’s what it took to make his decision for his family. And I wonder, how many decisions us modern parents make are based on what God really wants for our children?
As a grandma and parent of two, now grown women, I can easily recall times when I had to make decisions that would set my children and family apart from others. So many times, when I would go against the norm, others would say to me, “I hadn’t even thought about that.” In other words, they were just going along to get along without consulting any moral code whatsoever.
“When you are being taught how to use any machine, the instructor keeps on saying, “No, don’t do it like that,’ because, of course, there are all sorts of things that look all right and seem to you the natural way of treating the machine, but do not really work.”
CS Lewis, Mere Christianity
It seems so natural to automatically sign a permission slip for your child to go on the 4th grade overnight trip that every single 4th grader in your school has gone on for the last 10 years. There’ll be chaperones and it’s just down the street. Everyone is going. And then you find out boys and girls will be sleeping together in small rooms. Chaperones include moms and dads – many whom you don’t know. So your daughter will be spending the night with boys and a dad. No problem, everyone is going. Everyone has gone. No one has ever brought up any issue. So what’s your problem? Are you going to set your child apart? Will you be resolute in what you know is the God-directed answer?
In the verse today it says “imitate evil.” And I think so often when we read things like that in the Bible we give ourselves little passes to make immoral decisions, especially when we feel it might harm our kids’ social lives. I mean, it’s not “evil” to let our kids go on a boy/girl sleepover. It’s not “evil” to allow our daughters to wear the latest fashions that might be a bit revealing. It’s not “evil” to let our sons play violent video games. It’s also not “evil” for all the parents at the birthday party to get drunk. Right?
In a world where parents are pressured into allowing their elementary and middle school children to start dangerous hormones and go under the knife in order to try and change their gender, letting your kids watch R rated movies and TV shows seems tame in comparison. And we let it slide.
“Perfect behavior may be as unattainable as perfect gear changing when we drive; but it is a necessary ideal. Prescribed for all men by the very nature of the human machine just as perfect gear changing is an ideal prescribed for all drivers by the very nature of cars…it would be idiotic not to try; for every mistake is going to cause you trouble later on.”
CS Lewis, Mere Christianity
It’s interesting that this quote from Mere Christianity involves using a stick shift in a car. For just about every one of us that process has changed to be an automatic. But the question I ask is your automatic response to making decisions for yourself and your family set to the world of the flesh or the Word of God?
For Joseph Idlout, he drew on his people’s hundreds if not thousands of years of history and made the conscious decision to not go the modern route of the world. And I have to say they seemed to live a pretty content and peaceful life. Not an easy one by any means. The harsh Arctic conditions probably led many to scoff at their decision. They might even have been called any manner of names from savages to crazy to ignorant. But his children didn’t grow up with drug addictions, suicidal tendencies, endless debt, and more that our world offers.
We can’t all put our families on an island away from the world’s influences. But we can stop pretending things aren’t “evil” when they go against what God wants of us. We must be resolute and purposeful in following God’s will for our families. To be His humble servants, to know His Word inside and out so that it becomes automatic, and to live like the chosen people we are. Our children’s lives depend on it.