I Want the Cymbals!
Music time with my preschool Sunday school class can be a bit deafening. But one thing can be said for sure, they make a joyful noise! I think they all want to be the one who gives the loudest praise. The two instruments that are fought over more than any others are the drum and the cymbals. So we take turns. How fun it is to watch them pound that drum and clang those cymbals. They have to be reminded to sing, but they don’t miss a beat on those two noise makers.
As much as I appreciate their “music” I can be glad when we go to a “quieter” activity. Cymbals have their place in an orchestra at just the precise second, but a consistent clanging of them can be quite unnerving.
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.” 1 Corinthians 13:1
So starts the “love” chapter, 1 Corinthians 13. Words are important and I love to communicate but if what I have to say is equated to a clanging cymbal, I am sure those who read my words or hear me speak would rather I just shut up. How much love is in my talk and how in the world can I say what I think needs to be said without seeming unloving?
I’m feeling a bit guilty about a note I sent to someone where I honestly expressed my opinion on something and it was not all that positive. I hated to do it but felt like I had to do it, you know, one of those things that bugs you so much, you just have to spill it. I’m not sure how it was received because I have not heard anything back. I still stand behind what I said, yet I wonder if I could have said it in a more loving way.
God has used this as a lesson. No matter how much I am offended by something, I need to always respond in love. Love can do hard things. Love can say, “I disagree with you.” Love can say “No, I’m sorry but I can’t fit that into my life right now.” Love can say, “Your words have hurt me, but I still love you.”
“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
How can I love like this? A pretty tall order, huh? A kind of love that is impossible for us to do on our own. Only with God’s help can we love like we should. And with God, ALL things are possible. I know I have problems loving people like I should. I can say I feel like it is getting easier as I am getting older, but oh my, when I read what some people write or hear what some people say, the clanging cymbals of it all is enough to stir in me some pretty unloving thoughts. I want to put my hands over my ears and scream STOP!
“But Jesus looked at them and said “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.” Mark 10:27
When Jesus spoke those words He was teaching about salvation. How impossible it is for a man to enter the kingdom of God on his own. As impossible as “a camel to go through the eye of a needle…” verse 25. Loving someone well is just as impossible without God. God is love. (1 John 4:16) How could we truly love without His help?
There’s this little ceramic statue of Jesus that sits on a shelf across from my desk. Jesus, holding little children close. It’s a picture of the love that He has for us. Holding us close. Always holding us close. He was and is the perfect example of how to love in word and deed. And I can love that way with His help. That truth makes me hopeful.
If Jesus could love through the suffering of the cross, I can love through the times when I feel slighted or misunderstood. I can love when I am used or ignored or taken for granted. When things are going badly and we just don’t see eye to eye, I can still love. I can always, always respond with love. It is possible because God can make it possible, YES! – cue the cymbals!